Tennessee Titans (6-3 SU, 3-5-1 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2 SU, 5-4 ATS)
NFL Week 11
Date/Time: Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 8:25PM EST
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TEN +7/PIT -7
Over/Under Total: 44
On Thursday Night Football, the Tennessee Titans come to Heinz Field for a big AFC matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is a high-stakes battle between two teams that have distinguished themselves as conference contenders. Both teams enter this game with four straight wins. Tennessee beat the Bengals on Sunday, 24-20, at home on Sunday to move to 6-3. The Steelers were able to mount another comeback to beat the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, 20-17. Which team can emerge from the short week victorious? And who can cover the spread?
There might not be anything flashy about the Titans this season, as they are just quietly doing their thing and now starting to stockpile wins. Not a lot of eyes are on the Titans, despite a lot of clear signs that they are a rising force in the AFC. Theyve been fairly dependable in recent weeks and that counts for a lot in this seasons NFL. The Titans can run the ball really well on offense, with an aerial game that could get better in coming weeks. The defense is one that makes a lot of plays. A win here could put the Titans more-squarely on the radar of fans and bettors. Oddly, they have covered just three spreads this season, despite a successful season thus far.
Sunday was not a vintage showing by the Tennessee offense, as they came up with just enough to repel the Bengals. Marcus Mariota threw for 264 yards and a TD, along with a pick. Aerially, he connected well with Rishard Matthews and Delanie Walker. DeMarco Murray was big on the day, running in two scores, while catching Mariotas only TD throw. Corey Davis caught 4 balls and could add a nice X-factor in coming weeks. The variety of their run-game is a major weapon. With Murray, surging Derrick Henry, and Mariota, they can really apply a diverse and effective ground-game. Theyve also started flirting with using Adoree Jackson on offense more, with some end-arounds. That could also pay off down the road.
In their last five games, the Titans have given up a total of 87 points and become more-stout in recent weeks. Jurrell Casey and DaQuan Jones have been good up-front and part of the reason the run-defense has been so stout. Cincinnati was able to move the ball, especially aerially, but Tennessees defense kept overall damage to a relative minimum. They had some nice plays on Sunday, with Derrick Morgan recovering two fumbles, with LB Wesley Woodyard very impactful on the day. Adoree Jackson has been coming around at corner, with Kevin Byard still making plays after picking off 5 balls in the preceding two games.
The Steelers have forged a 7-2 record with a lot of issues along the way. On Sunday, they had another comeback win, as they have had several this season. While coming back from a 14-point deficit is good, needing late dramatics and a FG with time running out to beat the Colts doesnt qualify as a great week perhaps. But developing the comeback muscle could serve them well moving forward. Pittsburgh entered this season with a reputation for offense, but its been the D that has carried the weight this season. Well see what they can come up with at home this week.
The 20-point output for the Steelers wasnt very good on Sunday against an Indy defense that looked as good as they have all season. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns with a pick on 19/31 passing. Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell were quiet on the day. Theyve been getting good play from rookie receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was near 100 yards with a touchdown on Sunday. Only two times in the last seven games have the Steelers scored more than 20 points. Its been an up-and-down season on this side of the ball.
The saving grace for the Steelers in the face of diminished offensive success is their defense. They are stout and they make big plays. Bud Dupree and Vince Williams, along with Stephon Tuitt, were very active on Sunday and really got after Jacoby Brissett. LB Ryan Shazier has been stellar and had another pick on Sunday. Joe Haden (out) and Artie Burns at the corner have been excellent, with Sean Davis and Mike Mitchell at safety. Brissett connected on two touchdowns of over 60 yards. Other than those few big plays, the defense was pretty good, holding Indy down in the second half so the Steelers could climb back into the game and eventually win it.
The short week will be tough on both teams, each of which had a draining game on Sunday. The Steelers offense hasnt really looked like the dynamic unit weve seen in the recent past. Its not hard to imagine both offenses struggling in this spot. The Titans defense is not as stout as Pittsburghs, but they offer a little more variety, whereas Pittsburgh relies on their stars. I see a well-contested game, where having 7 points will be useful. Im taking the Titans.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Tennessee Titans plus 7 points. – Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a 50% bonus up to $250 at one of the web’s oldest and most trusted betting sites: BOVADA