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Bet on The Steelers vs Titans – Week 2 Preview

Week 2: Steelers vs Titans Preview & Pick

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Date: Sunday, September 19, 2010
Venue: LP Field in Nashville, TN
Broadcast: CBS
Steelers vs Titans NFL Betting Lines from BetOnline.com
Pittsburgh: +5 (Moneyline: +190)
Tennessee: -5 (Moneyline: -230)
Total: 36.5 points: Over -110, Under -110
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Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)

It wasn’t pretty but the Steelers began (temporary) life without Ben Roethlisberger in style, edging the Atlanta Falcons 15-9 in overtime at home. They’ll have a much tougher test this week in Tennessee, when they face a Titans team that has won nine of its last 11 games dating back to 2009.

The good news for the Steelers is that their star-studded defense hasn’t missed a beat. It made an above-average Falcons offense look ordinary last week. Having a healthy Troy Polamalu back made an immediate difference, as he picked off Matt Ryan. The Steelers also sacked him twice and kept Atlanta from scoring a single touchdown. Most importantly, they bottled up Michael Turner, holding him to 42 yards on 19 carries and a long run of seven yards. They’ll have to be equally stout stopping the run this week to have a chance against Chris Johnson and the Titans.

The Steelers weren’t perfect offensively but had a few bright spots. Rashard Mendenhall was a horse, carrying 22 times for 120 yards and winning the game with a 50-yard touchdown run in sudden death. Dennis Dixon was competent replacing Big Ben. He threw an interception but also completed 69.2 per cent of his passes for 236 yards.

Tennessee Titans (1-0)

Talking to my betting buddies after the game, we kicked ourselves for not hammering Tennessee’s line against Oakland last week. We were too concerned about the “improved Raiders” and forgot how deadly the Titans have been since the second half of 2009. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Chris Johnson did his usual thing and ran wild on the Raiders, ripping off a 76-yard scoring run and totalling 142 yards on the ground. Vince Young also looked poised, throwing for two scores and completing 76.5 per cent of his passes.

Tennessee neutralized Jason Campbell in the running game but there was a defensive red flag that will prove relevant this week. It didn’t factor prominently since the Oakland was trailing all game and had to abandon the run – but the truth is that the Raiders moved the chains without fail on the ground against Tennessee. Shifty Darren McFadden ran for 95 yards on 18 carries, averaging 5.3 yards. Does that mean the Titans are in trouble against Mendenhall this week?

The pick:

Watching the Steelers/Falcons game last week made me believe Pittsburgh could be fine during Big Ben’s suspension after all. The Steelers still play monster defense against the pass and the run, their running game looks improved and even Dixon looks like he can play a respectable caretaker role.

As dominant as the Titans have looked of late, they’ve done much of their damage against weak defenses. Including last year, their 9-2 run includes wins over Oakland, Seattle, Miami, St. Louis, Buffalo and Jacksonville.

As much as we believe Vince Young has arrived, look what happened the last time he faced a good pass defense. In Week 16 against San Diego last season, he went 8 for 21 for 89 yards with two picks and 4.2 yards per attempt. The Steelers will throw everything they have at him.

As for Chris Johnson, the last time he faced Pittsburgh he ran for just 57 yards on 15 carries. I think Pittsburgh will give Tennessee a much tougher time than the Titans expect at home this week – enough to cover the spread and probably win.

Steelers vs Titans prediction: Steelers 24, Titans 13

Moneyline: Steelers +190

Spread: Steelers +5

Over/Under: OVER 36.5

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