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Week 1: Predictions From The Contributors and Xanpham

Week 1: Predictions from the Contributors

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

2013 PFTC! Finally, some real Titans football!

Back again for another season, Predictions from the Contributors gives us and you a chance to try our hand at predicting what will happen this weekend.

Here is how it works: each week we will do a post with prognostications from all the contributors (who actually respond to my email) and one special guest. I will also post a poll letting you vote on what you think will happen. And we get points! If a predictor predicts a correct outcome, they get one point. Exact score? 3 points. At the end of the season, we will total up the points and come up with a winner because THAT MATTERS (it will be me.)

So let's crank it up. Xanpham starts us off for the 1 3:

Xanpham (0-0)

First off, I would like to say that, while it is a tough matchup out of the gate for us, I am thrilled that the Titans get to test their mettle against the Steelers week 1. A physical performance will really set the tone for the season ahead. So here are my three main factors going into our first tilt of the 2013 regular season.

1. Jake Locker will have to find early rhthym like he has done during this preseason. If the run game can step up and take the heat off the young signal caller, I think we see the big strides forward in his game. The Titans running game will hum against a much weaker front seven from the Steelers than we are used to. Their drafting in that area over the past few years has not been great, barring any surprises this season from the group. The other factor for Locker will be him making the pre-snap reads and recognizing the blitz. The Steelers are a blitz happy bunch, and only figure to do more this year with an ageing secondary. This pass rushing prowess was their strength last year and valuted them to the top of the statistical categories, so Jake will certainly have his plate full. The Titan recievers will have to help out Jake by being aggressive and working back to the ball when called upon, which was one area where Britt struggled early in the preseason. All that said, I think he comes through in week 1 for the Titans in a big way, and hopefully opens the eyes of a good many critics who have already written him off as a bust.

2. The Titans will have to step up on defense. Heath Miller and Le'veon Bell or not, the Titans need to generate pressure with the front four to come out on top in this game, and I think Casey will lead the charge. If he can collapse the pocket and flush out Rothlisberger, it will give guys like Morgan and Ayers a chance at a double digit sack game. This is easier said than done however, as Ben had proven time and time again that he is adept at extending plays and keeping his eyes downfield while avoiding the rush. Ayers, Brown, and co will HAVE to wrap up. The best secondary in the world can only be expected to cover for so long, and this secondary features Griffin on the back end so...

3. While the Steelers lost Wallace, they still have plenty of talent outside to do some damage, especially on the soft coverage that dominated the Titans defensive game planning last year. Gray and Williams will have to be aggresive and play bump-and-run/press coverage to prevent those free releases and easy reads for Rothlisberger. I think ATV makes us forget there was ever a CB competition and grabs a late interception. I also think Sensabaugh will be more visible in this game, especially since we haven't talked much about him during the offseason. It will be a pleasant surprise.

I think this will be a tough, grind it out matchup between two teams that do not like each other at all. The Titans, while they shouldn't, will get gashed early in the run game behind an up-and-coming offensive line for the Steelers, but I think they make a good second half adjustment to that by the second half. Big Ben will get frustrated by the rush and concede a few sacks. Antonio Brown will notch a long TD early for the Steelers. Locker throws 2 TDs in the second half and Greene smashes it in on the goaline for another. Bironas adds a late field goal to ice the game.

Go Titans!

Titans 24 - Steelers 17

Book em Dano! (0-0)

This will be a close game in typical Titans/Steelers barn burning fashion. I actually think I'm bring too generous with my inflated scores.

However, the Titan offensive line will control this game and Rob Bironas will be a hero yet again.

Titans 20 - Steelers 17

Lomas (0-0)

The Titans go into Heinz Field as underdogs, but that after seeing a preseason full of failure from Pittsburgh, it is hard to say why. The Steelers are aging on defense, their first round pick is having problems getting on the field even when healthy, and their offensive line is one David Decastro away from being awful (yep even you Pouncey). The Titans need to have an effective ground game with Jackie Battle and Shonn Greene getting carries early to loosen up the defense. Running behind Warmack, Turner and Levitre against a beleaguered interior defense for the Steelers shouldn't be an issue.
In the end and improved Titans team gets their first win Sunday.

Titans 30 - Steelers 17

FurmanDaniel (0-0)

This game is a tough call for me because both of the teams going in have a lot of question marks. The Steelers are no longer the team to beat in the AFC and haven't been for a couple of years now, but they still scare me because even in a down year they seem to play tough football and have a core of players that have been through their fair share of seasons together.

That, combined with the fact that I'm not quite ready to believe that our offense is totally meshed and ready for primetime (though that could change awful quickly), leads me to believe that the opener will end in sadness, though not in blowout fashion as some folks outside of the market seem to think it will be.

I'll go with a final of

Steelers 28 - Titans 24

CanaDaniel (0-0)

I've gone back and forth on this one for a while. Reports of Pittsburgh's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Their pass defense was the best in the league and the rush defense was almost as stellar (2nd). Offensively they lost Mike Wallace yet still have tall, speedy receivers on the outside. I'm not sure what to expect out of Tennessee Sunday. It wouldn't surprise me if they came out and stunned the Steelers...but neither would a big loss. The Titans were able to beat Pittsburgh with Matt Hasselbeck at QB last year. Considering that success and the fact I think Jake Locker has improved greatly over the offseason, I'm going with the Titans to start Week 1 with a victory. There is definitely some homer-ism creeping in on my prediction though.

Titans 27 - Steelers 24

Tuna (0-0)

Titans finally start off the year with a good performance and a win

Titans 24 - Steelers 17

The new guy Gunnels (0-0)

Dear Football Gods,

We need this one. Never can I remember more hope being poured into one team than this year. With a record number of roster moves this Titan team is new to say the least but the rivalry is anything but. I forecast the Titans to start off slow as they traditionally have, while the trenches test each other out. The first drive will result in a field goal and doubt will begin to creep into the faintest of hearts. After going down 7-3 however, the Titans will wrestle the momentum back and never look back. They spend the entire 4th quarter running the ball at will and Big Ben gets sacked 3 times trying to catch up. Titans win

Titans 24 - Steelers 17

Jonne (0-0)

The Titans have a high powered offense. And they will show it Sunday when Chris Johnson finds yards tough to come across. The steelers will make jake beat them. With Kendall wright back, the teams best receiver imo, jake will find a groove early and after a few runs of his own the game will slow down for him and he will shine.

Pittsburgh's offense will due some damage but the 3 sacks the titans get mixed with an interception by Jason McCourty will do enough to give us the game.

Jake throws for 165 yards and 2 touchdowns. While rushing for 30. CJ rushes for 80 yards while green steals a TD.

Titans win one for Rusty

Titans 24 - Steelers 10

BicepsHorn (0-0)

This will be a difficult game for a variety of reasons, the least of which is that winning on the road in the NFL is never an easy task. The Steelers are getting less respect than usual regarding their defense this offseason, but this remains a strong point of this team. Overlooked is the fact that they still allowed the least total yards in the NFL last year (including ranking 1st against the pass, and 2nd against the run) - they were also top 10 in points allowed (6th). Combine that with the fact that Lebeau generally has success against young QBs, and I think points will be difficult to come by. The good news is that the Steelers have lost some offensive weapons both to injury and free agency, so they aren't exactly working with a lot of firepower heading into the opener. All in all, I'd say it's a fairly even matchup, but those edges typically go to the home team.

Steelers 16 - Titans 13

G$ (0-0)

I'm drinking the Kool-Aid (OH YEAH!). Our offensive line is going to win the day and J & G are going to run wild. Locker doesn't have to do much to get the W on the road. Still not a believer in our defense, but I am a believer in Gregg Williams and Rapelisberger is going to be on the ground a lot. I see a high scoring game.

Titans 31 - Steelers 24

Rob GreenLobLaw (0-0)

Titans open the season by absolutely crushing the Steelers. Run game is dominant early on and Jake is very good. Defense plays well also giving up just 10 points. Defense gets 5 sacks on Big Ben. No one stomps the towel, and that's fine, we've made our point. Undefeated.

Titans 34 - Steelers 10

YankeeSmash (0-0)

To say I'm excited for this game is an enormous understatement. Living in Pittsburgh, people have been giving me crap all week. That said, Steelers fans don't have much faith in their team and neither do I. They're getting old and unreliable, and I think the Titans will come into Heinz Field and get a victory behind surprisingly strong play from the defense. $%&& the Steelers, their fans, and especially their stupid ass terrible towels.

Titans 31 - Steelers 21

That's 10 picks for the good guys, 2 for the towel wavers.