A road win over the 2-7 Tennessee Titans on “Monday Night Football” might seem like a foregone conclusion for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it’s hard to know what to expect from the team this season. After beating potential playoff teams by three scores and losing to some of the NFL’s worst teams, the Steelers might be the most unpredictable team in all of football.
Pittsburgh finds itself in third place in the AFC North and in the thick of the postseason race. They are just a half-game out of the final wild-card spot, and could be atop the division with a victory in Week 11.
At times, the Steelers have looked like a Super Bowl contender, putting up a combined 94 points on the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens in consecutive weeks. However, losses to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets, who’ve won just three total games on the year, leave many wondering how good the Steelers actually are.
Tennessee falls in the same class as New York and Tampa Bay, having lost seven of their last eight, beating only the 1-9 Jacksonville Jaguars in that time. The Titans did win their season opener over the Kansas City Chiefs, who are currently in the playoffs, but they’ve since gone 0-5 against winning teams and lost by an average of 16.2 points in those games.
An upset win for the Titans, who are getting six points at Las Vegas casinos, would probably require a poor game from Ben Roethlisberger. The quarterback’s 23 touchdowns and 3,063 passing yards have put him in the MVP conversation, and Pittsburgh has yet to win when he’s played poorly. Roethlisberger has registered a passer rating of less than 100.0 in three games this season, and each one has resulted in a loss for the Steelers.
The Titans pass defense has made a few quarterbacks look bad in 2014, but they haven’t been able to do so against the best signal callers in the league. While they’ve made the likes of Kirk Cousins and Blake Bortles look less than average, Tony Romo and Andrew Luck completed nearly 69 percent of their passes against Tennessee for five touchdowns and one interception.
Le’Veon Bell has struggled in the last two games, totaling just 56 yards on 22 carries. The running back might bounce back against Tennessee, who ranks 29th in the NFL, allowing 136.6 rushing yards per game.
Rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger has been shaky in two starts, and he’ll need to play better, in order for the Titans to win. He can’t expect the team to move the ball on the ground, considering they are averaging just over 62 rushing yards on 2.9 yards per carry in the last five games.
Only Jacksonville is averaging less than Tennessee’s 16 points per game. The Titans haven’t scored more than 17 points since Week 5, and failed to score more than 17 points in Weeks 2-4. The over/under is 47 points.
PREDICTION: Pittsburgh over Tennessee, 27-14