NFL: Week One Thursday Night Preview

Michael WhooleySenior Writer ISeptember 10, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 21:  Justin Gage #12 of the Tennessee Titans celebrates with teammate LenDale White #25 after scoring a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during their game on December 21, 2008 at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Well, boys and girls, the football season is finally upon us as tonight mark’s the first regular season action of the NFL season. And, what a match-up we have to kick off the season as two AFC powerhouses, the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers get set to square off in the confines of Heinz Field. The Titans did come out the victor the last time these two teams met in week 16 of the 2008 season, winning to the tune of 31 to 14 while capping it off with a nice Terrible Towel stomp.

However, despite the Titans clinching the best record in the AFC with the victory, the Steelers got the last laugh by winning the Super Bowl. Yes, folks, this should be an interesting one, which begs the question, who will step it up and be the difference makers tonight? Don’t worry, the Bruno Boys have you covered with our Thursday Night Preview.


Kerry Collins (Tennessee Titans) @ Pittsburgh

The Titans are playing at Pittsburgh in a game that will feature a lot of running and loads of good defense. Kerry Collins wasn’t known last season for doing much anyway, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to see him near the bottom of the Week One QB rankings. In case you need any kind of confirmation about Collins’ value this week, consider the Steelers ranked first or second in every major defensive category last season.
QB Rank: 28th
Point Projection: 9 points

Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans) @ Pittsburgh

Entering his second season in the NFL, the electrifying Chris Johnson faces a team that he struggled some against in 2008 as he rushed for 69 yards and one touchdown against the Steelers. After a so-so preseason, this is not the match-up that has fantasy footballers drooling. Yet, with his ability anything can happen. We here at the Bruno Boys believe that he will be solid, but unspectacular in his season debut, going for 90+ yards but no touchdowns. When the season is said and done, Johnson will be standing at the finish line as one of the better running backs in the league, but, for Week One, don’t expect any fireworks.
RB Rank: 23rd
Point Projection: 9 points

LenDale White (Tennessee Titans) @ Pittsburgh

LenDale White enjoyed a solid 2008 season as he rushed for 15 touchdowns in 16 games. The problem is he faces one of the stingiest rush defenses during Week One in the Steelers who allowed only seven rushing touchdowns all of last season. Considering that touchdowns were White’s bread and butter last year, you are forewarned that facing the Steelers after a sub-par preseason is not a great play in the Bruno Boys’ minds. If you are looking for a flex-option White can be average. But, if you are looking at him as your RB1 or RB2 this week, you are in some trouble.
RB Rank: 40th
Point Projection: 6 points

Justin Gage (Tennessee Titans) @ Pittsburgh

The second-best game of Gage’s 2008 season came against the Steelers last season as he accumulated over 100 receiving yards and a touchdown in his team’s Week 16 win.
WR Rank: 33rd
Point Projection: 8 points

Kenny Britt (Tennessee Titans) @ Pittsburgh

The rookie has a difficult matchup, but his size will allow him to make some plays.
WR Rank: 55th
Point Projection: 5 points

Bo Scaife (Tennessee Titans) @ Pittsburgh

Bo Scaife improved on his numbers for the second straight year in 2008, when he managed 58 catches for 561 yards. He enters 2009 as a contract year, but he has never scored more then two touchdowns in four seasons in the league and he gets a tough match-up right out of the gate. Scaife caught four passes for 25 yards in one meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers last season.
TE Rank: 20th
Point Projection: 4 points

Rob Bironas (Tennessee Titans) @ Pittsburgh

In all honesty, Bironas may belong at the bottom of the list. Despite his great leg and consistency, as well as, a strong running game from the Titans, Pittsburgh’s defense is at home and very well may shut this team down at the line. The Titans failed to bring in a stud receiver in the off-season and the Steelers know it. Next week, Bironas may be up top this list, but for Week One, I would keep him here.
K Rank: 28th
Point Projection: 5 points

(Tennessee Titans) @ Pittsburgh

With the Steelers offensive line being mediocre, Tennessee will likely bring pressure from all over the place and create a lot of sacks. With both defenses being in my top five for Week One, you can see what kind of game I expect, a low scoring, bruising battle won by the defense who brings their A+ game that day.
D/ST Rank: 5th
Bruno Boys Stars:  * * * *


Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers) vs. Tennessee

It’s a rematch of the week 16 game of last season that saw the Titans clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. This time they play on Thursday Night Football to open the regular season in what should be a well played football game. Too bad it won’t be a good one for either of the quarterbacks involved. Though the Tennessee Titans do feature one of the league’s best defenses, they are a little vulnerable to the passing game, so Roethlisberger does have some value this week. After all, he did have 329 passing yards and two touchdowns against the Titans last season.
QB Rank: 16th
Point Projection: 13 points

Willie Parker (Pittsburgh Steelers) vs. Tennessee

While the Steelers have said that Willie Parker is their man, Rashard Mendenhall is expected to see a solid amount of carries as well this year. Couple that with them having to start off the year against a rush defense that is better than average and things are not looking too great for this former fantasy first rounder. Expect some hard knocks during the first week of the season as Parker will get some decent yardage but nothing more.
RB Rank: 35th
Point Projection: 6 points

Rashard Mendenhall (Pittsburgh Steelers) vs. Tennessee

During a rookie running back class that shined, Rashard Mendenhall’s campaign was certainly forgettable. He played in only four games before suffering a season ending injury. To make matters worse, before the injury he hadn’t played very well. While Mendenhall is expected to see a larger share of carries during his sophomore season, his first task at hand is the Tennessee Titans. This is expected to be a game of inches. Expect a lot of short yardage runs, with both teams trying to burn time off the clock. In the end though, Mendenhall won’t have much to show for it.
RB Rank: 57th
Point Projection: 3 points

Santonio Holmes (Pittsburgh Steelers) vs. Tennessee

Holmes ripped the Titans last season to the tune of 93 receiving yards and a touchdown, and he’ll continue where he left off in the Super Bowl.
WR Rank: 21st
Point Projection: 12 points

Hines Ward (Pittsburgh Steelers) vs. Tennessee

Like his teammate, Santonio Holmes, Ward had a helluva day against the Titans last year, with over 100 receiving yards and one score.
WR Rank: 28th
Point Projection: 10 points

Heath Miller (Pittsburgh Steelers) vs. Tennessee

Miller has exceeded 40 receptions and 500 yards each of the past two seasons, although his touchdown totals dipped from seven in 2007 to three is 2008. Miller’s inconsistencies can make fantasy owners crazy, but if you are playing the match-ups, he had a season high eight receptions for 69 yards in one game against the Tennessee Titans last season.
TE Rank: 18th
Point Projection: 5 points

Jeff Reed (Pittsburgh Steelers) vs. Tennessee

The Steelers’ offense should be able to move the ball against a good Titan’s defense. The question is how many times will they be able to convert those opportunities into TDs, especially with a weak offensive line giving no protection to Big Ben. With that in mind, expect them to rely on Reed for at least two field goals.
K Rank: 17th
Point Projection: 8 points

(Pittsburgh Steelers) vs. Tennessee

If you drafted the Steelers defense, you will likely be playing them every week no matter the opponent. Tennessee has a strong running game with Chris Johnson and LenDale White, but is not a threat through the air. With the stout run defense of the Steelers, expect them to allow single digit points and give you a strong showing for Week One.
D/ST Rank: 4th
Bruno Boys Stars: * * * *

For more Fantasy Football insight and advice, visit Bruno Boys Fantasy Football.