Lacation: Pittsburgh PA; Stadium: Heinz Field; Weather: 74 degrees and partly cloudy; Kickoff: 1 PM ET; TV Coverage: CBS Sports; Announcers: Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst); Spread: Pittsburgh -7; Coaches: Mike Tomlin (Steelers) vs. Mike Munchak (Titans)
Pittsburgh Steelers: The preseason is over and it is now time to see what each team in the National Football League is made up of. The Steelers had a rough preseason to say the least losing all four of their contests. They had many questions that went unanswered during the duration of the preseason that will need answered in the regular season.
Offensively, the Steelers had most of the problems during the preseason starting with the offensive line. During the past week, the Steelers signed lineman Cody Wallace and released John Malecki. The starting five offensive lineman are young but have experience. The hopes are that they develop into a good, athletic line that gets the job done. Rookie running back Le’Veon Bell has been ruled out for Sunday’s game, giving the nod to Isaac Redman.
Defensively, the Steelers look fresh. Safeties Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark look as if they are still full of youth. Polamalu showed explosiveness during the preseason. Ziggy Hood and Steve McLendon will be watched closely as both of them are being asked to step up in 2013. The defense has finished number one overall in the past two seasons. They will look to make it three starting on Sunday.
Tennessee Titans: As a player, Titans head coach Mike Munchak was a hall of famer. Now he looks to turn around the fortunes of the Tennessee Titans as he enters his second season at the helm. His defense finished 27th overall in 2012, allowing an average of 374.9 yards a game.
Quarterback Jake Locker is heading into his second season as the starting quarterback in Tennessee. Locker has had up-and-down success in the league but nothing to really separate him from the rest as of yet. Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau says Locker is more mobile than many give him credit for.
Running back Chris Johnson fell off the list of top running backs in the NFL in 2012, but after a good looking preseason, Johnson looks to regain that status in 2013. Johnson rushed for 2,000 yards in the 2009.
What to look for: 1. Will the Steelers create an early tempo in week one and let it roll into the following weeks? 2. How will Isaac Redman and Felix Jones do? 3. The new offensive line outside-zone scheme.
Spotlight Player: Antonio Brown needs to help lead this offense to success with the absence of Heath Miller.
Team Quotes: Mike Tomlin: “I like our preparation,” said Tomlin. “We are focused on what is going to be required for us to do to win this weekend. We’re going to take a business-like approach to it like we did in the preseason.” Ben Roethlisberger: “The first game you always get a little bit of jitters and nerves, regardless of what year it is. Playing at home, you want to come out and get a good taste in your mouth and let the fans have something to really get excited about.”
Bottom Line: A strong start is important.
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