Steelers Road to Victory Vs. The Titans
Ahhhhhhhh let me catch my breathe after that nail biting game to open the season. A win is a win in the NFL and the Steelers did what they needed to do to. Good teams do that. Let's quickly move to Week 2.
The Steelers take on the Tennessee Titans in their house this Sunday and it should be every bit of a close game as our last one. Last year the Pittsburgh squeaked out a 13-10 victory against the Titans and largely kept the amazing Chris Johnson in check. They will have to repeat that Defensive performance and then some to have a chance of beating Coach Fisher this year.
Vince Young is proving to be a legit treat in the passing game and we all know what CJ can do. The biggest question was Tennessee's Defense coming into 2010. If their first game against the Raiders was any indication then their Defense is just fine.
To beat the Titans in their own stadium the Steelers will have to play "mistake free" football. This starts with the coaching.
Bruce Arians will need to take the kid gloves off of Dixon and let him take some more shots down field to spread the Titans Defense out. Otherwise they are going to stack the line all day and I cannot see Pittsburgh winning without some big plays down field (example- Mike Wallace 50 yard catch last week).
I'd also like to see a couple of WR screens to either Emmauel Sanders, Wallace, or even Brown and let them use their incredible speed to get some yards after the catch.
Keep pounding the ball with Mendenhall and mix in some more of Redman as a change of pace.
Lastly, design some plays that gets Dixon out of the pocket with the option of running or passing. Much like Vince Young, Dixon is dangerous in the open field.
I suspect Arians will open up the offense a bit more this week and will need to if they want to beat the Titans.
My prediction: Dixon- 234 yards passing, 36 yards rushing, 1 rushing TD
A BIG THANK YOU TO RASHARD MENDENHALL FOR WINNING THE STEELERS FIRST GAME WITH A 50YD SPRINT IN OVERTIME.
Raiders RB Darren McFadden had some success against the Titans Defense and I see no reason why Mendy can't either especially if Dixon throws some deep balls to soften the Defense.
Prediction- Mendy 105yds rushing, 24 yds receiving
Additionally- Issac Redman 47yds rushing, 1 rushing TD.
The Steelers will need to create some big plays with their receivers down field and Hines Ward will simply just have to be Hines Ward by moving the chains.
Hines Ward- 77 receiving yards
Mike Wallace- 92 receiving yards, 1 TD
Heath Miller- 45 receiving yards
Defense Defense Defense
Again the Steelers Defense will be in the spot light and again will have to come up with a lights out performance to secure a 2-0 start to the season. I believe they are up to the task.
Goal 1- Keep CJ from breaking the big ones.
Goal 2- Keep Vince Young in check and don't let him scramble for first downs.
Prediction- 3 sacks, 2 turnovers (1 INT, 1 FR)
"Special Teams" Need to Be "Special"
Jeff Reed had a rough day against the Falcons missing two field goals including a game winner in the 4th quarter. I believe the Steelers will score some TDs in this game and will really need Reed to kickoff well.
Prediction 1-1 FG, 3-3 PAT
Antonio Brown needs to be returning kicks and punts. I thought this speedster won a roster spot because of this return abilities however Randel El took most of those duties in the first game. Randel El is reliable however the Steelers need to get the kid some chances. He is electrifying and really could take some pressure of the offense with a shorter field.
Tackling was pretty good in the first game so keep it up this week. Do not allow any big gainers!
In closing I believe this will be another hard fought battle for the Steelers but they show they can win on the road without Roethlisberger as well.
Steelers start the season 2-0.
STEELERS 24 - TITANS 20