Almost every year the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the favorites in the AFC. At just 2-2 and in a tough division, however, they don’t have a great margin of error the rest of the way.
Pittsburgh stands alone in third place of the AFC North. After getting blown out by the Ravens in the opener, the Bengals have won three out of their last four games. The Ravens lead the division at 4-1, and are considered among the favorites to go to the Super Bowl from the AFC.
The Steelers look to climb above .500 as they kick off Week 6 of the 2012 season. They’ll visit the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night.
The Titans play in what is considered a rather weak division, but are in more need of a victory than the Steelers. They stand at 1-4 and three games behind the first place Texans. Tennessee could quickly find themselves out of the playoff race with a few more losses.
The Titans have struggled so bad that they are underdogs at home. The betting line at most Las Vegas sportsbooks list the Steelers as favorites by six points.
Tennessee’s struggles have come, largely, as a result of a historically poor defense. They are the only team in league history to allow at least 30 points in their first five games.
Ben Roethlisberger shouldn’t have much trouble picking apart a rather porous Titans secondary. He’s off to one of the hottest starts of his career, and has looked particularly comfortable thus far. Roethlisberger is third among starters, posting a quarterback rating of 102.9. He’s thrown for 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns to just one interception.
The Pittsburgh offense will benefit from having a healthy Rashard Mendenhall in the lineup for a second straight week. The running back made his season debut last week against the Eagles. He picked up 68 yards on 13 carries, improving a Steelers ground attack that had been one of the NFL’s worst.
For a third straight week, Jake Locker will sit out with an injury. Matt Hasselbeck will start at quarterback for the Titans against a somewhat depleted defense. Troy Polamalu re-injured his calf on Sunday and will miss the contest.
Like every Thursday game, this one is set to get underway at 8:20 on the NFL Network. For those who don't receive that network, the game can be viewed as a live stream online at nfl.com. The Web site will provide live look-ins throughout the whole game for free.
Prediction: The Titans haven’t proven that they can slow down any offense. The Steelers should be able to have their way with Tennessee and win easily.
Predicted Score: Pittsburgh 38, Tennessee 24