The Tennessee Titans are facing off against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1. Who do the Spot's Titans journalists think will need to have a big game for Tennessee to win?
The Titans are ready to take the field and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers to save Mike Munchak's job. Many speculate that the team isn't ready to do well in 2013, but with the help of a few players, the team could easily show up in Pittsburgh and leave with a win.
Here's Titans Journalist Robert Greenlaw's thoughts:
Jurrell Casey: The 6'1, 300 lb behemoth, has been excellent stopping the run game the past few years and that will be key in this game when the Steelers utilize Isaac Redman, Felix Jones, and LaRod Stephens-Howling. I am almost taking that for granted this game as I fully expect him to impact the passing game as well even more than ever before. In the preseason he looked almost unblockable and Pouncey, as good of a lineman as he is, will have his hands full against our boy Jurrell. Expect Jurrell to get a sack or and free up Morgan, Ayers, Edwards, Roptati, and Wimbley as well as Klug for even more sacks on Big Ben. Casey is definitely someone to keep an eye on as the Titans take on the Steelers this week.
And now for Journalist Truth Hurts Huffman:
Is there a harder place to kick than Heinz Field? Tennessee Titans kicker Rob Bironas knows all too well about the difficulties of kicking there. During the 2009 NFL Kickoff Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bironas uncharacteristically missed two of his three field-goal attempts. The Steelers won 13-10 in overtime. For the Titans, that was the start of a six-game losing streak to start the season.
Last season's matchup between these two teams included eight field-goal attempts. Bironas made all four of his including the game-winner, 26-23. Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham made three of his four. That was the difference at LP Field.
This preseason, the Titans offense couldn't finish drives. If that continues, this may become another game that comes down to the legs of the kickers. Will Bironas play another key role? Will he succeed against the elements of Heinz?
And for my pick:
Typically I would go with Jake Locker or Chris Johnson, but not today. I am picking free safety, Michael Griffin, to take control of this defense and lead the team to a win.
Ben Roethlisberger is a gunslinger, and he is a good one; nevertheless, gunslingers make mistakes. It'll be even easier to make mistakes without receivers like Hines Ward and Mike Wallace on the team now. Big Ben will launch the ball downfield, and there will need to be a safety to make a big play, either to break up the pass, stop the defender after the catch, or pick the ball off- and that will need to be Michael Griffin. The former Pro Bowl safety has not played up to expectations in previous years, but now he seems to be returning to his former self that is above solid. His tackling and coverage have appeared to improved. With a defensive line that included Jurrell Casey and Derrick Morgan putting a lot of pressure on Ben, it should give Griffin many opportunities to make a big play as he did in 2008 (as pictured above).
This will be a good game. There will need to be solid play from guys like Jake Locker and Chris Johnson for the team to win, but it will be a lot easier with strong play by Jurrell Casey, Rob Bironas, and Michael Griffin.