This here is a message from a Tennessee Titans writer to the Pittsburgh Steelers faithful.
This Sunday is huge. A battle between two good, undefeated teams at Nissan Stadium.
However, I can’t state clearly enough that the Titans are not the team to bet against in this game. I don’t like using the word fluke for this matchup, because if you’re 5-0 you aren’t a fluke. But if anyone in this game is a fluke, it isn’t the Titans.
Let’s start with the fact that the Titans have been absolutely brilliant at home. They hold a 23-8 record in their last 31 home games. In that stretch, they’ve beaten teams like the Seahawks, Packers, Patriots, and Chiefs.
It’s rare to see the Titans leave Nissan Stadium with a loss. The last time they’ve lost at Nissan Stadium was week 16 to the Saints in 2019. That was on December 22nd, about 10 months ago.
I heard the Steelers had the, what, second best rush defense in the league? Let’s take a look at the running backs they have faced so far: Saquon Barkley, a Melvin Gordon/Phillip Lindsay committee, David Johnson, Miles Sanders, and Kareem Hunt.
You know what, I’ll give you that. That is a decent group of running backs the Steelers have faced. But, none of them are this man right here.
Derrick Henry. Did you think this would be a test for Henry? No, this is a test to see what that Pittsburgh Steelers run defense can really do.
Let me stress that I respect a Mike Tomlin coached team, and I don’t expect this to be a cake walk for the Tennessee Titans by any means. Yet, this is a game the Titans can control with an offense averaging 32.8 points per game, which is good for 2nd in the NFL.
The Steelers have a defense you can’t take lightly, I’ll admit. It’s the number two defense in the NFL overall, and quite frankly, the Tennessee Titans haven’t met a defense this well-rounded.
On that same note, that “stout” Steelers defense has met the Giants, Broncos, Texans, Eagles, and Browns. The best offense in that bunch is the Texans who are ranked 17th in the NFL. No wonder that defense has been so stout.
The Titans offense is the best offense the Steelers defense will have seen by a mile, and Derrick Henry is obviously the best running back they will have seen as he currently leads the NFL in rushing.
I understand the lingo: “you can only face who’s on your schedule.” Blah blah. Also, you can bring up the Titans haven’t faced anyone either. They’ve faced the Broncos, Jaguars, Bills, Texans, and Vikings.
The best team the Steelers have faced is the Browns. The best the Titans have faced? The undefeated-at-the-time Bills. And they absolutely annihilated them. With only two days of practice after a COVID-19 shutdown.
So, will this be a tough matchup for the Tennessee Titans? No doubt. But it’s more of a test game for the Pittsburgh Steelers than it is the Titans, if you ask me. If Derrick Henry is held back, and the Titans offense score less than 25 points, I will be convinced that the Steelers are actually elite. Otherwise, this is the Titans’ game to lose.
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