Coming off its bye week, Pittsburgh (2-2) rallied for a 16-14 home victory over Philadelphia on Sunday. Ben Roethlisberger engineered a 64-yard drive over the final 6:33 and Shaun Suisham hit a 34-yard field goal as time expired to help the Steelers carry some momentum into this short week. Life can be better for the Steelers, especially on defense. Pittsburgh ranks fifth in the NFL with 280.0 yards allowed per contest, but it's given up 65 total points in road defeats to Denver and Oakland.
Though Tennessee (1-4) ranks 27th averaging 17.6 points, the Steelers will line up without one, and possibly two, of their top defenders. While the Steelers hope a potentially patchwork defense can come through Thursday, their offense is healthy and could be in for a productive evening. Rashard Mendenhall looks to build on his strong performance last week in which he rushed for 68 yards, and caught three passes for 33 yards and a touchdown in his first game since tearing his ACL on New Year's Day.
Roethlisberger is 3-1 versus Tennessee, with the lone defeat coming in Nashville on Dec. 21, 2008. He threw for 329 yards with two touchdowns, but was intercepted twice and sacked five times as the Steelers fell 31-14. He might not need another fourth-quarter rally against a Titans club that has allowed a league-high 181 points. Tennessee yielded its lowest point total of the season in a 30-7 loss at Minnesota on Sunday.
Things are going to be tough for a team that has committed 10 turnovers and struggles to run the ball. Chris Johnson was averaging just 45 yards over the first three games before gaining 141 in a 38-14 loss at Houston on Sept. 30. However, he managed 24 yards on 15 carries versus Minnesota. Maintain possession, put together long drives, the defence gets more rest and performs better. With Rashaad Mendenhall back (he he looked fantastic last week) they will use 2 RBs to control the clock and maintain possession. Road game, short back up - run the ball, kill the clock, go home early.
I'll have more plays on Sunday.