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vs. Titans Pick.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Tennessee Titans (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS), Week 2 National Football League Action, 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, September 19, 2010, Hines Field, Pittsburgh, Pa.
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Pit +5.5/Ten -5.5
The Pittsburgh Steelers are starting the season without their star QB Ben Roethlisberger, who is serving a four-game suspension. Without him, and with inexperienced QB Dennis Dixon under center, the Steelers picked up a great win in overtime over a quality Atlanta Falcons team to start the season. Now, they will go on the road to Tennessee to face the Titans, a team that looked great in a blowout Week 1 win over the Oakland Raiders.
Both of these teams rely on the running game to get their offense moving. The Titans are led by Chris Johnson, who is arguably the best running back in the NFL right now. Johnson did normal work on Sunday with 27 carries for 142 yards and two touchdowns, including a 76-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Johnson makes the Titans offense goes. Usually, if Johnson doesn’t have a successful running day, the Titans struggle to move the ball on offense.
The Steelers are anchored by RB Rashard Mendenhall, who ran the ball 22 times for 120 yards and a touchdown in the win on Sunday. Mendenhall ended the game with a 50-yard touchdown run in overtime to give the Steelers the victory. Especially with Roethlisberger out, the Steelers really have to rely heavily on the run to make their offense work. They couldn’t score a touchdown in regulation against the Falcons, but luckily their defense stepped up and carried the load to give the team a chance to win the game in overtime.
Dixon played quite well in the win on Sunday for the Steelers. He did throw one interception, but he was 18-for-26 for 236 yards. Hines Ward was his main target, catching the ball six times for 108 yards. The Steelers did a great job against the run, holding Michael Turner and the Falcons running game to just 58 rushing yards on 25 carries. With the run game being shut down, Matt Ryan couldn’t carry the offense himself. He threw for 252 yards and the Steelers picked him off once.
In the Titans win on Sunday, QB Vince Young played very well. With Johnson there, he doesn’t have to do everything, but he just needs to complete some short passes and move the chains, and he certainly did that. Young was 13-for-17 for 154 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 30 yards. The Titans defense did a decent job, allowing 181 passing yards and 135 yards on the ground.
This game is going to be all about the running backs. The Steelers are a better team at stopping their opponent’s run game but the Titans also have the better running back in Johnson. Between Dixon and Young, neither QB has to shine but it could come down to which QB makes the fewer mistakes. Because of a very strong Steelers defense, Dixon has a little more wiggle room than Young, but Young also is more experienced and more capable of having a strong effect on the game.
The Steelers are 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 games in Week 2 and 1-6 ATS in their last seven September games. The Titans are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 September games, but they are also 3-7 ATS in their last 10 September games, 2-5 ATS in their last seven games overall, and 0-4 ATS in their last four games against teams with a winning record. The under is 5-0 in the Steelers’ last five Week 2 games. The over is 4-0 in the Titans’ last four home games, 5-1 in their last six September games, and 4-1 in their last five games overall. The over is 4-0 in the last four meetings between these teams at Tennessee and 6-2 in the last eight meetings between these teams overall. The underdog is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings between the Steelers and Titans.
Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Pittsburgh CAN win this game straight-up, therefore I’m taking the points with the Steelers! I absolutely LOVE getting NFL key numbers 3 and 4!
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