The Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2) are coming home for Thursday Night Football as they will face the top of the AFC South, Tennessee Titans. Both teams are division leaders and both are on four-game winning streaks. This game at Heinz Field will be one of the five remaining home games for the Steelers. As for the Titans, they will be looking to cause some trouble with the dynamic duo of Derrick Henry and Demarco Murray. This matchup will be a huge test for both teams.
Steelers O-Line vs. Titans D-Line
The Steelers line has gotten increasingly better over the weeks and health plays a huge factor in that. The return of tackle Marcus Gilbert has boosted this line, and of course the elite play of David DeCastro, who has been probably one of the best guards in football this season. They have allowed just 11 sacks this season, which is tied for third in the league. Not only have they been solid in the pass-blocking, they have also blocked for the leader in rushing yards. The Titans, however, have quietly made noise on their front four with Jurrell Casey leading the way. They have allowed just 90 yards per game on the ground, but have also been in the bottom of statistics in sacks with just 13. Even if there may not be much pressure in the air game, expect some smaller holes for running back Le’Veon Bell to go through.
JuJu Smith-Schuster vs. Slot Cornerback
Steelers rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster could be in for a decent game against the Titans and especially if he lines up quite a bit in the slot. There’s a good chance Smith-Schuster might face off a few plays against cornerback Brice McCain in some sub-packages Thursday night. If not McCain, then possibly Logan Ryan will be guarding Smith-Schuster when he lines up in the slot. Both McCain and Ryan haven’t fared overally well this season when targeted in the slot this season while Smith-Schuster has excelled in that position.
Artie Burns vs. Corey Davis
With Joe Haden inactive for this game and the next few weeks, Artie Burns will be heavily relied on in that corner position. The Titans will serve him a tough matchup in the rookie Corey Davis. Although he has not played much this season due to injury, he has produced when on the field. In the four games that he has been active for, Davis has produced 13 catches for 149 yards. Being active against Pittsburgh may cause trouble for the secondary that has allowed quite a number of “splash” plays the last couple weeks. If Mike Mitchell is also inactive, that causes some concern for the second-best team in passing yards allowed. Burns will have a nice task to deal with in this one.