It’s hard to believe that the 2009 season has finally arrived, but it’s here and ready to take center stage tonight as the Steelers play host to the Titans, the last team to beat them in the 2008 season on their way to their 6th Super Bowl.
The Steelers come into the matchup ready to defend, and with it they have had a pretty quiet offseason, losing only two starters from the team that won the Super Bowl. They probably won’t have first-year starter LB Lawrence Timmons, who is out with an ankle sprain.
As for Tennessee, one new weapon that is questionable is WR Nate Washington, who comes to the Titans from Pittsburgh. They will have their 1-2 punch at RB in Chris Johnson and LenDale White, and also have Kerry Collins back at QB, as he and the team look to rebound from the playoff loss to the Ravens last January.
The key for Tennessee in last December’s win was a physical gameplan that the Steelers could not match, this despite the Steelers having the number one defense in football. If the Titans are going to win, they have to once again be able to pound the Steelers, and also protect Kerry Collins from Dick Lebeau’s blitzes.
As for the Steelers, they want to get back to running the bal more and better, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a mix of both Willie Parker and last seasons first-round pick Rashard Mendenhall. Ben Roethlisberger also needs to stay upright as the Steelers O-line continues to be a question mark.
This has all the makings of another tough, hard fought physical game. Look for it to come down to turnovers as well as big plays. The defending Super Bowl Champions have never lost on opening night since the Thursday format started, and the Steelers will keep that trend up.
Pittsburgh 23 Tennessee 17