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Titans vs Steelers: What To Watch For, What To Expect And What Will Happen

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The offensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers lines up against the defensive line of the Tennessee Titans. Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images.
The offensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers lines up against the defensive line of the Tennessee Titans. Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images.

The NFL offseason is officially over. Preseason is officially over. Cuts are done. It’s time to suit up, for reals. This time it matters when the Tennessee Titans head up to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers. No play counts, no drive counts, no quarter counts. Now, it just counts.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

The first thing, out of the gate, to watch for is how the Steelers come out offensively. We’re going to get a good indication of how this game will go during the first few drives. If the Tennessee defense can hold it’s own for the first couple of series, then that’s a good sign. If they struggle, chalk it up as a long day at the office for the Titans.

Conversely, we should watch how the Titans offense comes out. Obviously, they’re going to try to set up the running game. If they achieve any kind of success, that should spell for an interesting next few hours -- if.

Right now, we really don’t know what to expect from this Titans offense. Though, we should find out how effective they can be fairly quickly.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Expect the Steelers to set the tone with that stonewall defense we’ve come to know and love. Troy Polamalu is finally healthy, it appears, so that will be huge for that unit.

Also, from the Steelers point of view, expect them to try and establish their vintage running game – line up and hit you in the mouth. That assignment will fall on the hands of Isaac Redman with Le’Veon Bell expected to be out.

Look for Ben Roethlisberger to sprinkle in some play action and some deep strikes, but for the most part the Steelers are going to try and punch Tennessee in the mouth.

Expect Chris Johnson to get his opportunities in open space. I’m sure this Tennessee offense will be creative enough to give him his touches; it’s up to him to cash them in.

Expect the Titans to take an early lead, and expect Pittsburgh to come right back at them.

Expect an unpredictably close game.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN

Tennessee will throw a wrench in everyone’s predictions. I truly believe that we’re looking at the upset special of week one here. The Titans are sneaky good along the offensive line and people are sleeping on Johnson.

Jake Locker will do just enough through the air to keep the Steelers defensive backs out of the box. Roethlisberger will commit one more mistake than Locker and the Titans will sneak out of Heinz Field with a huge victory.

The Titans will be 1-0 by the end of the night.

THE FACTS

  • Last meeting: Titans beat Pittsburg 26-23
  • Titans are 0-3 in last three meetings at Heinz Field
  • Pittsburgh leads all-time series 6-5
  • Titans went 2-6 on the road last season
  • Pittsburgh went 5-3 at home last season, lost three of last four

THREE QUESTIONS THAT WILL BE ANSWERED

  • Is the Titans offensive line for real?
  • Is Chris Johnson really back?
  • Can Jake Locker avoid the “big” mistake?

THREE QUESTIONS THAT WILL BE ASKED AFTER

  • Does Big Ben really miss Mike Wallace?
  • When does Le’Veon Bell return?
  • Are the Titans good or is Pittsburgh bad?

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Chris Johnson

BIGGEST TALKING POINT

Tennessee’s much improved offensive line

THE PICK

Titans 23, Steelers 20