On Sunday the Steelers will open week two from Nashville facing the Tennessee Titans in what will likely be one of the best games and possible upsets of the day.
The key for both teams is to stop the run.Â The Steelers face who many call the best running back in the NFL, Chris Johnson – on par to beat many records over the length of his career.Â So, Johnson, he’s scary.Â No other words for it.Â He’s dangerously explosive and with any gap, he’s going to exploit and embarrass you.Â That’s the kind of game he plays.
Luckily, the Steelers defense has proven to be back to form already shutting down Atlanta’s offense last week.Â The Steelers are known for confusing quarterbacks and this week, Vince Young will start against the Steelers for the first time.Â He’s not played well in the past against a 3-4 defense but Jeff Fisher is very familiar with the Steelers style of play and surely will have worked with Young to get his past that challenge.Â Still, the Steelers will focus on shutting down the Titans run and forcing Young to pass – statistically, Young has 34 TDs to 39 INTs – with that analysis, the odds are in the Steelers defense’s favor.Â Last year, before Troy was injured he had an interception against the Titans – and last week, he had another against Atlanta at the end of regulation.Â The Steelers defense will also have thought through how they can challenge and confuse Young.Â Expect to see some good matchups when Tennessee has the ball.
Likewise, the Titans will be looking to do the same thing, shut down the run and force Dixon to throw.Â Last week against Oakland, Jason Babin, Will Weatherspoon and the Titans first round pick in this year’s draft, Derrick Morgan, each had a sack.Â And Titans safety Chris Hope had an interception.Â They will all be looking to stop Rashard and pressure Dixon into making mistakes.Â I’ve been saying it for more than a year – don’t underestimate Dixon – he’s a talented quarterback and as Hines said in the Pittsburgh Tribune, “The more reps Dennis gets for the more comfortable he is going to become and the more we can expand our playbook.”Â He’s right.Â Dix needs reps and experience, with that, he’ll gain confidence and once he has confidence, he will make more great plays.
If the Steelers come out and play smart and play hard, they have the opportunity to win this game.Â There is little margin for error though, especially when stopping the run.Â Chris Johnson will take advantage of any opportunity or crease given to him.Â We can’t allow that to happen.Â With Big Snack out, the defensive line needs to be tough and smart.Â Snack knows how to cover the gaps, we need that to continue.
And Steeler Nation never forgets desecration of the Towel.Â In 2008, the Titans stomped on a Terrible Towel and have been cursed.Â Hines told USA Today, “When you disrespect the towel, you are disrespecting the people here in Pittsburgh and all of Steeler Nation.” You tell them Hines.
Expect a lot of towel waving to happen and less towel stomping in Nashville. It’s going to be a tough game and likely a nail biting kinda day.
Let’s go Steelers!