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NFL Picks vs. Spread: Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 1

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Summary & Pick

NFL Picks vs. Spread: Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 1

Oct 11, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) runs with the ball against the Tennessee Titans during the second half at LP Field. The Titans beat the Steelers 26-23. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Two teams who combined for a 1-7 preseason record. The Pittsburgh Steelers were winless whereas the Tennessee Titans got their only victory against a winless Atlanta Falcons team. It’s time to see what happens when these teams start trying and stop using vanilla game plans.

These teams aren’t AFC Central rivals anymore. Hard to tell when one considers that the Steelers and Titans have a head-to-head matchup for the sixth consecutive season. During that stretch, the Titans won in 2008 and 2012. The Steelers won each game from 2009-11. The Titans are 2-1 at home and 0-2 at Pittsburgh.

Both of these teams have a lot of uncertainties at defense. Although the Titans had 39 sacks in 2012, 14 of those came against a hapless Jacksonville Jaguars team. The Titans are expected to have a more aggressive defensive game plan now that Gregg Williams is a senior defensive assistant. That could spell trouble for the Steelers, whose offensive line is one injury away from disaster. Even without an injury, their offensive tackles are considered vulnerable in their new zone-blocking scheme.

Will that new ZBS improve the ground game? Isaac Redman needs more help than what he had last time these teams played. In 2012, Redman had five carries for 14 yards. Excluding Roethlisberger, the Steelers had 21 carries for 42 yards. Don’t forget that this occurred with a depleted offensive line.

“Field Goal Munchak?” That was the story of the Titans’ preseason. While Jake Locker and Chris Johnson had no difficulties leading the offense into scoring territory, they rarely finished drives with more than three points. Last season, these teams combined for seven field goals: Titans 4, Steelers 3. Birnoas kicked the game-winner in a 26-23 victory.

What’s the most important factor about this game? Maybe me…

2010 Steelers at Titans? I picked TITANS. Steelers won.
2010 Packers vs. Steelers? I picked STEELERS. Packers won.
2011 Titans at Steelers? I picked TITANS. Steelers won.
2012 Steelers at Titans? I picked STEELERS. Titans won.

The Green Bay Packers and Titans are my rooting interests. If I’m picking this game from an unbiased perspective, then I’m taking the Steelers. I just like Roethlisberger over Locker in a tight fourth quarter.

Is the curse of me picking Steelers games enough to overcome the Steelers’ 10-game home-opener winning streak and The Terrible Towel? Or will The Terrible Towel take that as a challenge against itself and attempt to search me out in Middle Tennessee?

Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7): The Pick
Pittsburgh Steelers 20, Tennessee Titans 16

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