Tennessee Titans vs Pittsburgh Steelers: Week 1 Staff Predictions, 2013

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Benjamin Greene (Lead Columnist, 0-0)

Oct 11, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans linebacker Tim Shaw (59) celebrates his team recovering the blocked punt against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Titans 20, Pittsburgh Steelers 17

The Steelers lost a lot this offseason, most notably Mike Wallace, the team’s leading receiver in each of the last three seasons. Emmanuel Sanders, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller will need to pick up that slack. The Steelers may be forced to lean on the running game during the transitional period. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, Jonathan Dwyer, the team’s leading rusher last year, is also no longer on the roster. To make matters worse, both Miller and rookie running back Le’Veon Bell will likely miss this game, which drastically helps Tennessee’s cause.

On defense, the Steelers’ secondary has an average age of 30.5. Watch for the Titans’ young, athletic receiving corps to exploit those old legs in the defensive backfield. Of course, the success of Tennessee’s aerial attack is dependent on the arm of Jake Locker, who has not consistently impressed yet in his career. However, Locker’s 67.3 completion percentage and 338 yards passing this preseason are encouraging.

These two teams always play each other close, so I’m predicting a tight finish. At the end of the day, I think the Titans will take it, simply because they improved this offseason while Pittsburgh took a step backward.