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NFL Season Opener Titans vs Steelers: What to Expect

Nick SignorelliSenior Writer ISeptember 10, 2009

PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 11:  The Tennessee Titans walk out of the tunnel for warm-ups prior to a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on opening day at Heinz Field on September 11, 2005 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Steelers defeated the Titans 34-7. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

As the 2009 NFL season prepares to kick off tonight, we will view a match up that many thought we would see last January in the AFC Championship game. Some people believe that this may be a preview of the 2009 AFC Championship game.

The Tennessee Titans travel to Pittsburgh to play the defending Super Bowl Champion, Pittsburgh Steelers.

Like most games, you can almost feel the excitement in the air.

Tennessee, who had the best record in the NFL in 2008, has almost no one picking them for the Super Bowl in Miami, February 2010.

Pittsburgh, who returns 19 of 22 starters, is Las Vegas pick to finish behind the New England Patriots.

Both teams are not getting the credit that they deserve, because either of these teams could be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy come February.

As both the Titans and Steelers try to start the season off on the right foot, here is what each team must do to be successful in the NFL opener.

Offense

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Tennessee 

The strength of the Titans is their running game. Everyone knows that with the two headed running game, with LenDale White and Chris Johnson, Tennessee is going to be running the ball.

With the Steelers run defense, known as one of the best in the league, the Titans are going to have to pass the ball in order for their running game to be successful. 

The offensive line of the Titans is one of the best in the NFL, and against LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison, they are going to have to be at their best to protect Kerry Collins.

Pittsburgh

The key to the Steelers winning is protecting the football. If the Steelers turn the ball over more than twice, they have no chance of defeating the Titans. Ben Roethlisberger has to take care of the football, and not give the Titans any type of field position to work with.

The Steelers also have to run the ball and control the clock. For that to happen, the offensive line is going to have to open up some running lanes for "Fast" Willie Parker. Parker has to return to form, and if he hits 100 yards, the Steelers will win.

Defense

Titans

The Titans have to get pressure on Ben Roethlisberger, and not give him time to pick their secondary apart.  The best way to do this, is to blitz, and force the Steelers offensive line to protect Big Ben better than they did all last year.

If the Titans can force the Steelers into mistakes, they can win the ball game.

Steelers 

Do what you do best: Attack from every where on every play. Make Kerry Collins uncomfortable, and not allow him to see the field. Keep Johnson and White to less than 100 total yards, and the Titans will have to throw, which is not their strong suite.

Prediction

Opening night of the NFL season, national TV crowd, and the Steelers unveiling their sixth championship banner will have Steeler Nation going insane in Heinz Field.

Pittsburgh's defense will impose their will on the Titan's offense, and take over the game. The Steelers offense will control the clock, with at least one big play to Santonio Holmes.

Steelers win 27-14.