Week 11 Tale Of The Tape: Tennessee Titans At Pittsburgh Steelers
- QuarterbackIf the Titans are going to have an excellent chance of competing for 60 minutes in this game and gaining the upset of the Steelers, Marcus Mariota is going to have to be at his best. Mariota is one of the best athletes at his position and has the ability to take off running at any time, but he has a plus arm, a quick release and is one of the smartest players in the league.There’s little doubt how talented the Steelers are, and if this season is going to be a success, the Steelers are going to be a Super Bowl team. The key to this development is the play of Ben Roethlisberger in clutch games. While he is strong, powerful and able to extend plays, he has not been at his best this season and he will make risky throws and he must avoid that in the second half of the season.
- OffenseThe Titans are mediocre on offense as they have some decent talent at the RB position with DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, but they are lacking explosiveness at the WR position because Rishard Matthews is good but not great and Eric Decker is a possession receiver at this point in his career. Delanie Walker is a fine tight end, but he is not having his most productive season.The Steelers appear to be the most talented and explosive offensive team in the NFL, and the combination of running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown allows the team to score from anywhere on the field and make more big plays than nearly any opponent. Rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster is a perfect complement to this offense and is capable of scoring from anywhere on the field.
- DefenseThe Titans have been somewhat disappointing on defense, as they rank 16th in yards allowed and they have the talent to perform much better. IL Wesley Woodyard is a very active tackler who excels against the run, and can also rush the passer and cover receivers. Rookie Adoree Jackson is getting better every week, while OLB Derrick Morgan has a team-high 5.0 sacks.The Steelers have made excellent progress on defense during Keith Butler’s tenure at defensive coordinator. The Steelers rank second in yards allowed and in addition to being tough to move the ball against, they can be dominant in short-yardage situations. Linebacker Ryan Shazier is an excellent tackler, but CB Joe Haden (broken fibula) is out.
- Special TeamsThe Titans have had a few issues defending kickoff returns that need to be corrected, but Jackson is a dynamic return man who has given Tennessee a key advantage on punt returns. Veteran PK Ryan Succop simply will not miss any FG attempt of less than 50 yards.The Steelers have been outgained significantly on both punt and kickoff returns, and their coverage teams have been mediocre. Chris Boswell has been a solid FG kicker, but punter Jordan Berry has a poor net average, and he needs to do a better job.
The Steelers can’t let games slip away, and while this is not an easy game, they should be able to handle the Titans at home if they are going to have a shot at earning home field advantage in the AFC playoffs.