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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tennessee Titans Preview and Predictions

The Pittsburgh Steelers will have something to prove this season; that they can win the AFC North and make an impact in the post-season without the likes of Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. 

The Tennessee Titans finished 9-7 last season, and that was with a sub-standard season out of quarterback Marcus Mariota (11 TD's, 8 INT's). How well can they do if he really explodes this year? 

The Steelers and Titans will meet up on Sunday night at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. 

TV: 8 PM ET, NBC.  LINE: Titans -2.5.  O/U:  40

ABOUT THE STEELERS: Pittsburgh put forth an inspired defensive effort last week to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 17-7, in the wake of the death of wide receivers coach Darryl Drake. The battle for the backup quarterback job continues, as Mason Rudolph played "clean" (10 of 15, 77 yards), while Joshua Dobbs threw an interception. Dobbs is the guy who can make things happen with his feet, while Rudolph is more of a dropback type. Top receiver Juju Smith-Schuster (111 catches last year) is comfortable with either guy. "They’re always competing and doing the right things," he says. The competition will be decided in these next two games. But meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger should play vs. the Titans, albeit briefly. Former star linebacker Ryan Shazier, whose career was cut short by a spinal injury, is among a growing legion of Devin Bush fans. And he's going to do whatever he can to help the first-round draft pick out of Michigan get to the top. "I think he's going to make a lot of splash for us. He's going to be a big-time player for us," says Shazier, who has occasionally conducted one-on-one film sessions with the youngster. Christian Kuntz, on Jacksonville's practice squad last season, is trying to make the team as a linebacker and long snapper. Kuntz played at Pittsburgh's Duquesne University, which has had only one NFL player (Leigh Bodden) since 1974. But it's the alma mater of former Steelers' co-owner Dan Rooney, and the team's ballpark is named after his father, Steelers founder Art Rooney. 



ABOUT THE TITANS: Tennessee is getting some "love" from the guys at NFL.com. Gil Brandt, the personnel guru, and Hall of Famer calls the Titans' quarterback situation the "most enviable in the NFL" because he believes Ryan Tannehill to be the best backup QB in the league. Writer Chris Wesseling praised defensive tackle Isaiah Mack, an undrafted free agent, as the team's most promising rookie, off two strong efforts in the pre-season. DT Jeffery Simmons, taken in the first round out of Mississippi State, is unavailable to the team after having ACL surgery several months ago. During his rehab, which includes some light workouts, Simmons is being tutored by veteran Jurrell Casey. And head coach Mike Vrabel likes that. "I think it’s really positive that Jurrell’s with them to be able to explain the technique when [Simmons] hears a coach says it, and also show him the technique," says Vrabel. Tight end Jonnu Smith and kicker Ryan Succop have been activated from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Former Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry, who hasn't practiced in more than three weeks because of a calf injury, finally got back onto the field this week, although Vrabel hasn't decided if he'll play Saturday night. Henry rushed for 1059 yards and a dozen touchdowns last season. Regardless of what happens there, Jeremy McNichols, the second-year running back, will get to showcase himself again. He caught a TD pass in spectacular fashion in the 22-17 loss to New England last week and also had a 33-yard TD run called back. 

EXTRA POINTS

1. In 2018, no team was as successful turning red-zone trips into touchdowns than the Steelers, who converted 73.5% of the time. 

2. Tennessee's offensive coordinator, Arthur Smith, is the son of FedEx founder Fred Smith, who also is part-owner of the Washington Redskins. 

3. Ray Sherman, has been named the Steelers’ interim wide receivers coach for the 2019 season. He has not been a coach in the league since 2015. 


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Stadium

LP Field
Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
Capacity: 68,798

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Last Injuries

Tennessee Titans

  • Josh Smith

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Smith has been placed on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and he will miss an extended period.

  • Vic Beasley Jr.

    Conditioning
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Beasley Jr. failed his physical and has ended up on the active Non-Football Injury list for an unknown length of time.

  • Reggie Gilbert

    Undisclosed
    I-R | I-R

    Gilbert has reverted to the injured reserve after clearing waivers with an unspecified injury.

  • Jack Crawford

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Crawford will spend an undetermined length of time on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and it is uncertain when he can return to team activities.

  • Corey Davis

    Toe
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Davis has landed on the active PUP list while recuperating from offseason toe surgery. The severity of it is unknown.

  • Vic Beasley Jr.

    Personal
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Beasley Jr. has reported to the team but remains on the Injured Reserve/Did Not Report list.

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Jaylen Samuels

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Samuels has been designated for the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and it remains unclear when he will return.

  • James Washington

    Illness
    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Washington has landed on the Injured Reserve/COVID-19 list, and there is currently no timetable for return.