The 2013 regular season is finally ready to roll for the Steelers, as Sunday they host the upstart Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field. It’s a critical game for the Steelers with back-to-back prime time games following this week, and also it was last season the Titans laid an upset on the Black and Gold.
It’s always exciting to get the season going, so today we preview the game, and of course as always give our pick for this matchup of two teams that are looking to get going fast in 2013.
1. Set the Tempo – It seemed in the preseason that the Steelers just were not on the same page, and it showed in the fact that the first team offense scored just one TD. With a veteran QB and some playmakers, the Steelers have to get starting fast, and have to make sure to pick up the tempo. How about starting in the hurry up offense? Might not be bad to get the offense on the same page and get started fast. It also would confuse the heck out of the Titans to start the 2013 season.
2. Keep Locker in the Pocket – Jake Locker can do damage with his legs, which is something that Mike Tomlin pointed out this past week in talking about the Titans. Locker looked a lot more polished in the preseason, and seemed to more confident. Dick LeBeau has to make Locker think, and give him a lot of different looks and not let him build confidence and start to run all over the place. He’s not Mike Vick or RGIII, but if he can escape sacks and get out of the pocket, he can do damage.
3. Don’t Let The Titans Extend Drives – One way to give Tennessee a thought of the upset is by letting them stay on the field with mistakes, like penalties and not getting off the field on third down, which was an issue for a good portion of last season. Too many times in 2012 we saw the Steelers get a team in a 3rd-and-10 or better, only to give up 11, 12 yards. The Titans have some guys that can get downfield, so it will be important to stay disciplined and not allow breakdowns in the defense.
Prediction – Last season the Steelers were able to do a lot of good things on offense vs the Titans, only to lose in the final seconds as the D couldn’t get off the field late. It was a horrible offseason for the offense, and it will be key to be able to run the ball, as well as set some type of tempo. Chris Johnson and the Titans offense will look to make splash plays and get big chunks of yards vs the Steelers D, and they have to make sure to tackle and not get sloppy. I’m not going to lie, this game scares me, mostly due to how badly the offense looked in four preseason games. Let’s hope that things change quickly Sunday. Pittsburgh 13 Tennessee 7