IT’S BACK! After a one week hiatus, “Reasons For Confidence And Concern” has made a triumphant return to MCM just in time for a big time game against a big time team tonight. 6-3 feels great, but 7-3 will feel even better. Hopefully, this game will be watchable with this new camera angle. Personally, I am not very excited about it, and if anyone knows how to watch with the normal view, please respond in the comments. But for those who are excited, have at it! Now, let’s get to the game:
Reasons For Confidence: Big Game, Steelers' Secondary, Turnovers
Big Game: I have said this many times before, but the Titans always show up in big games against the big franchises. Seahawks, Broncos, Chiefs, Packers? They will be ready to roll. I think that this will be no different. Mike Mularkey always has this team ready to play, and this team’s confidence has grown each and every week. No matter what the situation is, they feel that they will find a way to win. I may be on my own here, but I am almost more confident when this team has a big game than when they play a team like Cincinnati.
Steelers’ Secondary: On Sunday, this unit gave up some big plays through the air to Indianapolis. To pile on top, Joe Haden will not play tonight, and Mike Mitchell is questionable. Even if Mitchell plays, he will not be at 100%. On the other side, the Titans’ offense has show signs that they are ready to blow up on offense. They left 17 points on the field against the Bengals, and if they clean up some silly mistakes, they can take advantage of Coty Sensabaugh et al. tonight.
Turnovers: I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. This defense just knows how to find the ball. Every week, there is a big turnover, whether it is a strip-sack from Orakpo, or an interception from Byard. Now, coming into this game, Ben Roethlisberger has shown that he will give the defense some opportunities. He has thrown 10 interceptions so far this season, and the way this defense has been finding the ball recently, I would not be surprised to see 1 or 2 tonight.
Concern: Wide Receivers, Traveling on Short Week, Run Game
Wide Receivers: The Steelers have two wide receivers who ooze big play potential. Antonio Brown is obviously one of the best wide receivers in the league, and one of the biggest playmakers in the league. Across from him, Juju Smith-Schuster has been finding the end zone on a weekly basis. Recently, the secondary has been playing very well, but this is a new challenge. If the secondary can rise to the challenge, it would go a long way towards a win. These wide receivers will get theirs, but the back breakers cannot happen.
Traveling on Short Week: I am a Thursday Night Football advocate, but it is tough for the away team. The game just ended on Sunday, and you essentially get 1 day to practice at the team facility before having to fly out to a different city. Hopefully the players and coaches were able to get enough time in to prepare, and no matter what, the mini-bye week will be nice before this final stretch of the season.
Run Game: The Titans have not been as successful on the ground as they were last year, and it seems unlikely that things will change tonight. The Steelers’ defensive front is the strength of their defense with names like Dupree, Shazier, Watt, and Tuitt. If the Titans cannot get anything going on the ground, play action goes out the window, and the pass rushers will be able to pin their ears back. Hopefully with the return of Quinton Spain, the Titans will improve on the ground tonight.
QB: It’s simple math, 8>7. Titans
This is going to be a tough one, but we can be confident that the good guys will show up ready to play. See you tonight!