Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3) -1, 34.5 O/U at Tennessee Titans (12-2)
LP Field, Nashville, T.N., 1:00PM Eastern, Sunday
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
The two best teams in the AFC are on a collision course for this weekend in one of the most anticipated games in the latter part of the season. This game has big implications on the line in terms of the playoff. Both teams have already clinched their respective divisions and now they will battle for the chance to earn home field advantage throughout the playoffs. If the Titans win, they will have the home regardless how week 17 plays out. If the Steelers win, they will need to back it up with another win in week 17. This game promises to be very physical as well as a defensive struggle.
Pittsburgh has been in two dogfights over the last two weeks with real big wins over Dallas and Baltimore. In both of those games, Pittsburgh trailed the majority of the game and staged the comeback late in the 4th quarter. Last weeks 13-9 victory over the Ravens officially clinched the AFC North.
Pittsburgh sports the best defense in the NFL hands down. Their defense ranks 1st in the NFL in nearly every major category and they hope they will be able to overcome another strong defense by the Titans. The Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been plagued by interceptions all season throwing a total of 12 picks. However, in the last two outing Roethlisberger has not thrown a single pick and has led the Steelers to two game winning drives in the 4th quarter. If Roethlisberger can stay in rhythm, the Titans will have a tough time picking up the victory.
Tennessee has been the team to beat all season in the AFC. The Titans started the year with a perfect 10-0 start and have stayed striving every since. However, last week the Titans fell to an unlikely opponent in the Houston Texans 13-12. That single loss gave the Steelers just the opportunity they were hoping for because now if the Titans cannot beat the Steelers the team that was certain to have home field advantage will get it taken away. The Titans have been stellar on the ground this season ranking 5th in the NFL in rushing offense averaging 142 yards per game. The Titans have found success behind the healthy legs of running back Chris Johnson. Johnson has amassed 1,139 yards this season along with 8 touchdowns. Johnson will play a major role in the Titans success this Sunday and if they can establish the ground game.
Bovada Sportsbook has opened the betting line nearly dead even. However, Pittsburgh now holds the 1 point edge over the Titans as favorites to win the football game. The over/under for the contest has been posted at a low 34.5 points and if youre like me you have to consider the under total due to the Steelers very low scoring games over the last few weeks.
The Pittsburgh defense has been very strong in their 5 game winning streak. The Steelers have held opposing offenses to 13 points or less in their last 5 games. That is simply unheard of and they will look to continue that pattern against the Titans. Steelers WR Hines Ward has come up big in recent weeks and he has proven that he is still a big play receiver. Ward has 68 catches on the season along with 864 yards and 6 touchdowns. When the game is on the line, Ward makes plays. Ward is probably one of the most clutch receivers in the NFL and if things get interesting watch for Big Ben to throw the ball to number 86.
Tennessee will need a supporting role from their defense as well as the Steelers. Throw out the New York Jets game and the Titans have not allowed an offense to score more than 21 points this season. That is a strong stat especially considering how stacked the AFC is this season. The key to this game will likely be under the turnovers category. Both teams have done exceptionally well this season with the turnover ratio, but turnovers could be a big deal when they meet in Nashville. Ben Roethlisberger has been subject to throwing interceptions this season and if the Titans defense can force some turnovers then it will definitely help the cause. Without some big plays from the Titans, I believe Pittsburgh could be too much to handle.
Pittsburgh has been beating up the books in recent weeks going 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games and 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games on the road. Tennessee is 5-1-1 ATS at home this season and also holds an 11-2-1 ATS record in their last 14 games.
Jays Pick: Pittsburgh has been making a trend of playing in 20-30 point game totals and against another team similar to themselves, I am all over the under 34.5!