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The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans were once rivals. Two franchises that each hung its hat on physical play and running the football, the Titans and Steelers have played many memorable games over the years, even as recent as 2010, as the Steelers won by a field goal in overtime. That 2010 opener was one year after the Steelers Super Bowl win, and the Titans 13-3 season. Oh how things have changed. While the Steelers are still winning, the Titans on the other hand are still stuck in training camp.
The Steelers have to keep pace in a tough division, especially with the Ravens showing no signs of slowing down and the Bengals essentially still in the hunt after five weeks. Pittsburgh did what it had to do last week, winning a tough, grind it out game against the Eagles. The good news for the Steelers is that despite the short week, Ben Roethlisberger and company should have no trouble finding a rhythm in the Music City, as the Titans boast statistically one of the worst defenses in the league. The Steelers have had to rely on the pass, only averaging just over 80 yards per game on the ground this season – good for 26th in the league. The Titans on the other hand haven’t stopped anyone on the ground or through the air, as Tennessee gives up an average of over 36 points per game – worst in the NFL.
WHAT TO WATCH
Injuries could be the tale of this Thursday night matchup in Nashville. Second-year quarterback Jake Locker will miss his second-straight game for the Titans, which means Matt Hasselbeck will get the nod under center for Tennessee. Despite what would seem to be some potential weapons offensively for Hasselbeck, the Titans have been inept on offense outside of a good showing against Detroit in week three. For the Steelers, they welcomed back running back Rashard Mendenhall last week with open arms, as the back rushed for over 80 yards and became the team’s leading rusher through five games, despite only playing in one game thus far. With a healthy Mendenhall, expect the Steelers to get back to their forte of running the football, especially on Thursday against a subpar Tennessee defense. For the Titans, many fans would be calling for Chris Johnson to be replaced in the Titans backfield. The issue is that backup running back Javon Ringer is out with a knee injury suffered last week.
The Titans are 1-4 and have been embarrassed in all four losses, but none as bad as Sunday’s 30-7 loss to the Vikings. The Titans became the first team in over 50 years to give at least 30 points in each of the first five games of the year, and haven’t been close to winning a game outside of their 44-41 win over Detroit in week three. The Steelers are five-point favorites on the road in this one, which should be an easy pick for most. The Titans showed little fight in Minnesota, and with a short week to make corrections, expect that to carry over into Thursday night. The Steelers, despite injuries, are the much better football team and should win this game by double-digits.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tennessee Titans Betting Odds
As you could have probably guessed, the Steelers are a sizeable favorite in this matchup. Currently, oddsmakers have issued the Steelers (-275) a 6.5 point spread that they must beat the Titans (+235) by in order to cover. Additional Thursday NFL odds include the game total which seems a bit high at 43.5 points scored between both teams for the entire game. These odds for Thursday Night Football were found at Bovada however other sports betting sites also have these lines and there could be some variance.