Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans
LP Field – Nashville, Tennessee
Monday, November 17, 2014, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Pittsburgh -5 1/2
Current Line: Pittsburgh -7 (+110)
Opening Total: 47
Current Total: 45 1/2
Opening Money Line: Steelers -250 / Titans +210
Current Money Line: Steelers -270 / Titans +230
The 6-4 Pittsburgh Steelers are currently part of a 3 way tie for second in the AFC North with the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. All three teams are behind the 6-3-1 Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers travel to the 2-7 Tennessee Titans Monday night. Because Pittsburgh has not had their bye yet, the Steelers will either be in first place with a win or last place with a loss. The Titans are in third place in the AFC South ahead of only the 1-9 Jacksonville Jaguars.
Since 2001, the series between the Titans and Steelers is tied 6-6. Tennessee has won two straight games in the series including 16-9 in Pittsburgh in the season opener last year. This is the seventh straight season these two teams have played.
Pittsburgh is coached by Mike Tomlin. The Steelers have road losses at the Ravens 26-6, Browns 31-10, and last week at the New York Jets 20-13, along with a home loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-24. The loss to the Jets snapped a 3 game winning streak for the Steelers. Both the losses to the Jets and Buccaneers are puzzling because both teams have only 2 wins apiece. Pittsburgh has home wins over the Browns 30-27, Houston Texans 30-23, Indianapolis Colts 51-34 and Ravens 43-23. The Steelers have road wins at the Carolina Panthers 37-19 and Jacksonville Jaguars 17-9. Pittsburgh is 5-5 ATS and the total is 6-4 this season. The Steelers were 4.5 point favorites at the jets and the total was 47.
Tennessee is coached by Ken Whisenhunt. The Titans have a road win at the Kansas City Chiefs 26-10 and home win over the Jaguars 19-17. Tennessee has lost 3 straight games. The Titans have home losses to the Dallas Cowboys 26-10, Browns 29-28, and Texans 30-16, along with road losses to the Bengals 33-7, Colts 41-17, Washington Redskins 19-17 and last week against the Ravens 21-7. Tennessee is 2-6-1 ATS and the total is 3-6 this season. The Titans were 10.5 point underdogs at the Ravens and the total was 44.5.
Pittsburgh is outscoring teams 26-24 this season. The Steelers are #9 in scoring. Pittsburgh is averaging 408 yards per game on offense including 298 passing and 111 rushing yards. The Steelers are #4 in both total offense and passing. On defense, Pittsburgh is allowing 347 yards per game including 240 passing and 107 rushing yards. The Steelers are 63/141 and opponents are 50/129. Pittsburgh has 20 sacks and has allowed 25 this season. The Steelers are -2 in turnovers. Pittsburgh has 3 defensive touchdowns and has allowed a special teams touchdown.
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has completed 68.5% of his passes for 3,063 yards with 23 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Running back Le’Veon Bell has 162 carries for 747 yards and a touchdown, along with 55 catches for 466 yards and 2 touchdowns. LeGarrette Blount has 65 carries for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 6 catches. Receiver Antonio Brown has 79 catches for 1,070 yards and 8 touchdowns. He even threw a touchdown pass. Markus Wheaton has 35 catches for 436 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tight end Heath Miller has 38 catches for 430 yards and 2 touchdowns. Martavis Bryant has 14 catches for 310 yards with 6 touchdowns. Eight defensive players are questionable or out including 4 defensive backs and 3 linebackers.
Tennessee is being outscored 25-16 this season. The Titans are #30 in scoring. Tennessee is averaging 309 yards per game on offense including 211 passing and 97 rushing yards. The Titans are #23 or worse in all three categories, including #31 in total offense. On defense, Tennessee is allowing 369 yards per game including 232 passing and 137 rushing yards per game. The Titans are #11 in pass defense but #29 in rush defense. Tennessee is 35/114 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 48/124. The Titans have 24 sacks and have allowed 25 this season. Tennessee is -2 in turnovers.
Tennessee has used 3 quarterbacks this season. Jake Locker started the first four games of the season but was benched due to both injury and ineffectiveness. He was replaced by Charlie Whitehurst who played in four games before being benched himself in favor of rookie Zach Mettenberger who has started the last 2 games. Mettenberger will be the starter for the foreseeable future barring injury. Locker threw for 764 yards with 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, along with 18 carries for 107 rushing yards and a touchdown. Whitehurst threw for 764 yards with 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, plus 50 rushing yards on 11 carries. Mettenberger has thrown for 495 yards with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
Running back Bishop Sankey has 91 carries for 357 yards and a touchdown, along with 11 catches for 83 yards. Shonn Greene has 49 carries for 199 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Delanie Walker has 38 catches for 512 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is questionable with a concussion. Receiver Kendall Wright has 39 catches for 403 yards and 4 touchdowns. Justin Hunter has 21 catches for 368 yards and 2 touchdowns. Four defensive players are out for the year.
Pittsburgh is 5-1 ATS in November, 4-1 after a straight up win, after gaining more than 350 total yards, and on grass, 5-2 after failing to cover, and after rushing for less than 90 yards, 11-5 after scoring less than 15 points, 2-6-3 in week #11, and 6-20-1 against teams with losing home records. The over is 4-1 ATS the last 5 in Nashville in this series.
Tennessee is 4-0 ATS in Monday games, 3-0-1 after passing for less than 150 yards, 6-2-1 after gaining less than 250 total yards, 15-35-1 against teams with winning records, 7-18-2 at home, 1-3-1 after failing to cover, 3-10-2 on grass, 3-12-1 after allowing more than 150 rushing yards, 1-4-2 after rushing for less than 90 yards, 3-12-2 overall, 1-8-2 against AFC teams, 1-9-1 against teams with winning road records, 0-5-1 after a straight up loss, and 0-4 after scoring less than 15 points. The underdog is 5-1 ATS in this series recently. Tennessee is 7-3 ATS against Pittsburgh in the last 10 games in Nashville.
Pittsburgh can’t afford to stub their toes against another 2 win team like they did against the Buccaneers and Jets. Pittsburgh isn’t much of a running team but they should find some holes in the porous Titans rush defense. I think the Steelers win comfortably on the road.