The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tennessee Titans were supposed to square off weeks ago as two unbeaten teams at 3-0 each. Circumstances intervened that resulted in the game being postponed for several weeks, but both organizations managed to continue winning along the way.
Both are now 5-0 and playing some dominant football in at least one aspect or another. They are now two of just three remaining unbeaten teams, the other being the Seattle Seahawks, who are on a bye week this week but face the dangerous Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
There are plenty of instances in which teams carry an unbeaten record deep into a season, of course. The Titans, for example, started the 2008 season 10-0 before losing their first game. But it is rare for two teams with extended winning records to face off against one another.
In fact, according to the team’s media department, this is only the eighth-ever instance in which two teams with unbeaten records this deep into the season have faced off against one another, with three of the seven previous occasions also being between two teams with 5-0 records. In 2007, the 8-0 New England Patriots defeated the 7-0 Indianapolis Colts, marking the latest game in a season in which two undefeated teams squared off. And the past winners of the game in the Super Bowl era have advanced to the final game.
Pittsburgh and Tennessee both enter Sunday’s game with 5-0 records. It marks the eighth meeting in League history of undefeated and untied teams with at least five victories…#HereWeGo #BertschyBits pic.twitter.com/D8w7DckoUa
— Michael Bertsch (@SteelersPRMike) October 19, 2020
The winner of Steelers-Titans is a LOCK to make the Super Bowl 🤔
This is the 6th game in the Super Bowl Era featuring two undefeated teams this late in the season (Week 7 or later).
In the previous 5 instances, the team that won the game made the Super Bowl that season. pic.twitter.com/2QRCvOJTQh
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) October 21, 2020
Neither the Titans nor the Steelers have ever been involved in such a game before, but of course that’s no surprise for the Steelers, because this is only the second time in team history in which they have started a season with at least five consecutive victories. That was back in 1978, and they started 7-0 before finishing 14-2 and winning a third Super Bowl (they would go 4-0 a year later and win it all again).
This game will mark just the second road contest for Pittsburgh on the season, and the first since they played the New York Giants in front of an empty stadium in the season opener, so this will be their first substantial test on the road in a hostile environment, and against a quality opponent.
Of course they want to win this game, but their priority remains winning the division, and their week eight game against the Baltimore Ravens holds much more weight. They are guaranteed to go into that contest with no worse than an equal record to Baltimore, and if they defeat the Ravens, would hold control over the AFC North.
Not that they should by any means be looking past the Titans, who are proving to be one of the best teams in football. The Steelers have one of the top run defenses in the league, but they haven’t faced Derrick Henry yet, and Ryan Tannehill will finally have Corey Davis and A.J. Brown on the field at the same time.