Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#281 Pittsburgh Steelers vs.
#282 Tennessee Titans
Sunday, August 25, 2019 at 8:00pm EDT
Nissan Stadium, Nashville
Written by David Hess

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#281 Pittsburgh
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National Football League preseason action on Sunday evening and the AFC North will duke it out with the AFC South as the Pittsburgh Steelers square off with the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium, in Nashville, Tennessee. These teams last met back in 2017 and the Steelers won that game at home by a score of 40-17.

Pittsburgh comes in off a 17-7 win over the Chiefs to move to 2-0 in the preseason, while the Titans are now 1-1 after a 22-17 home loss to New England.

Defense Stands Tall In Win Over Chiefs

The Pittsburgh Steelers had some lapses on defense in their opening win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, especially their pass defense which allowed 390 yards passing. Well, the defense got whatever message was given to them during the week as they allowed the Kansas City Chiefs to put up just 205 yards passing in the 17-7. The Steelers also sacked KC three times and forced four fumbles, while snatching up three of them. It was a bit shocking for them to struggle on defense in their first game as Pittsburgh was 6th in the league in yards allowed last year and the defense is expected to be better this year. It showed just how good it can be in the win over the Chiefs, who were one of the best offensive teams in the league last year. Granted they did not play KC’s starters all game, but Patrick Mahomes was just 2-for-5 for 11 yards in his lone series in there. Pittsburgh will look to keep improving on defense in this one.

The Pittsburgh offense had a decent showing as that racked up 329 yards in the contest, including 124 yards on the ground. The running game will be under scrutiny this year, especially since they don’t have Le’Veon Bell in the backfield. They do have James “The Terminator” Conner back there and he led the team with 28 yards in the win over the Chiefs. Last year, he had 973 yards rushing and another 497 yards receiving, while combining for 13 TDs. Pittsburgh was 31st in rushing last year at 90.3 ypg and they have averaged 116.0 ypg through their first two preseason games, which is 9th in the league.

Big Ben did not play in the game and it is unclear if he will play in this one, but we do note that this is the dress rehearsal and the starters do play more. The battle for the backup spot will continue and Mason Rudolph may have the upper hand so far. He was 10/15 for 77 yards last week, while Joshua Dobbs was 6/11 for 95 yards with an INT.  The Steelers want Rudolph to win the backup job and  I feel he is on pace to do so. Their battle will be fun to watch over the final two preseason games. Last year James Washington had just 217 yards receiving, but he had 78 yards in the win over the Chiefs and the Steelers are looking for someone other than JuJu Smith-Schuster to step up, especially after losing Antonio Brown to the Raiders. Overall, we will see more of the starters in this one for the Steelers.

Titans Fall At Home To The Patriots

The Tennessee Titans had a solid 27-10 opening win over the Philadelphia Eagles, but they could not keep the momentum going as they fell to the Patriots by a score of 27-10 last week. The defense was strong in the win over the Eagles as they held them to just 227 yards of total offense, including just 37 yards on the ground, but it was a different story against the Patriots as they piled up 363 yards against the Titans, including 123 yards on the ground. The Titans had a very strong defense last year as they were 8th in total yards allowed and 3rd in points allowed, giving up 18.9 ppg. Tennessee had a solid draft on that side of the ball and they brought in DL Cameron Wake from Miami, so the defense could be just as tough this year and it will get a good test in this dress rehearsal game.

The offense has looked pretty good in the preseason so far and they will need the offense to step up this year as the defense will again be tough and it will have to be the offense that gives them a chance at a deep run in the postseason. They had just 306 yards against the Patriots, but Marcus Mariotta had a good showing as he hit six of nine passes for 63 yards and a TD. He will be in there for nearly the first half in this one. Ryan Tannehill will also get some time and he was 7/11 for 84 yards and a TD last week. This is still Mariota’s job, but if he falters, then we will see more of Tannehill this year. This will be Mariota’s last chance to keep his starting job.

WR AJ Brown made his preseason debut against the Patriots and he was very quiet as he was held without a catch. Look for him to get more chances this week as the Titans do need to develop a solid receiving corps to help out Mariota. Adam Humphries was a solid pickup at WR in the offseason, but he has had just one catch for four yards so far. Look for a battle in the WR corps in this one. The running game is solid and has been led by Jeremy McNichols in the preseason. he has 57 yards through two games. Derrick Henry is still the man after rushing for 1059 yards last year, but the Titans are looking to develop depth at the position. That should be a good battle for the right to backup Henry.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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I like the Titans in this game. Mariota and Big Ben are about even in preseason, but I give the edge to Tannehill over Rudolph of Dobbs in the backup spot. I also feel that the Titans have an edge on the defensive side of the ball. Pittsburgh looked strong last week, but they also allowed 390 yards passing in their opening game against the Buccaneers. The Titans will not do that against this defense, but they have a solid ground game that will allow their passing game to hit some big plays downfield. This game is played more like a regular-season game, especially in the first half and I feel that the Titans have the overall talent edge in this one and that should walk away with a win of about a TD.

Prediction: Tennessee -3

Full-Game Total Pick

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I will look for this game to go Under the total. The Steelers have a solid offense and the Titans have an improved offense, but these were two of the best defensive teams in the league last year. We also note that the Titans look to run the ball more and the Steelers are looking to develop their running game. That should keep the clock churning. The Titans allowed just 18.9 ppg last year and their defense could be even better this year, while the Steelers also have a defense that will improve on last year that saw them allow just 22.5 ppg, while also giving up just 327 ypg, which was 6th in the league. This game will be played more like a regular-season game and with both teams using their starters on defense more, I will look for that to be the key to the Under in this one.

Prediction: Under 40
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Written By David Hess

I have always had a fascination with numbers and sports, so I combined the two to become a handicapper and a blogger. I love sports and I love writing about them and all the info I put in my blogs is well-thought-out and well-researched. I am a big fan of all the major sports and the colleges, plus I know golf pretty well, tennis and the WNBA. I am very versatile. Hope you enjoy my content.