Week 6: Pittsburgh Steelers At Tennessee Titans
- QuarterbackBen Roethlisberger is comfortable in his own skin. He’s not looking to join Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers as a prolific passer; he just wants to put the Steelers in a position to win in the fourth quarter. That’s when he wants to take over the game and make big plays.The Titans are forced to go with veteran Matt Hasselbeck and he just doesn’t have the kind of big-play ability to scare most defenses. Hasselbeck can read defenses and throw the short pass accurately, but he needs help from the running game and receivers that the Titans are not providing.
- OffenseThe Steelers should be much more of an offensive threat now that Rashard Mendenhall is back in the lineup. He rushed for 81 yards and a score in his return from last season’s ACL injury and he should improve. The Steelers depend on the speed of Mike Wallace at wide receiver and the solid receiving skills of tight end Heath Miller.The Titans continue to feel the impact of the disastrous start of running back Chris Johnson. He has been a major negative in four of their five games. Nate Washington and Kendall Wright can cause problems for their opponents, but the receivers have not been consistent to this point. Head coach Mike Munchak is not pleased with the play of the offensive line.
- DefenseThe Steelers are not the shutdown defense of past years, but they know how to make big plays and force turnovers. The Steelers forced four fumbles in the 16-14 Week Five win over the Eagles. Linebacker Lawrence Timmons bounced back from a poor game vs. Oakland with a 9-tackle effort against the Eagles and he also forced one of the fumbles. Troy Polamalu is struggling with a calf injury.The Titans have solid talent on the defensive side of the ball, but not enough to overcome their weak offense. They don’t come up with enough big plays. Strong safety Jordan Babineaux is an alert playmaker (interception vs. the Vikings) and a hard hitter, but he needs more alert play from his teammates.
- Special TeamsThe Steelers are not usually thought of as having solid special-teams personnel, but Shaun Suisham was 3-of-3 on field goal attempts against the Eagles and he hit a game-winning 34-yarder with no time left on the clock. Punter Drew Butler is an average NFL punter. He averaged 46.2 yards on four punts against the Eagles.The Titans should have an edge if this game comes down to this aspect of the game. Rod Bironas is one of the most consistent and strong-legged kickers in the league. Brett Kern can usually drop punts inside the 20 consistently.
The Steelers have not really hit their groove, but they improved their record back to .500 by beating the Eagles in Week Five. Head coach Mike Tomlin will slowly get this team back to playoff form as the season progresses. They want to show they can win on the road after dropping their first two games away from home. Staying away from turnovers is the key.