I’ll say a few quick things about last night’s game. Maybe this is why there’s a bit of a backlash to all of the Patriots’ success. Most of the time, when they win, it’s because the Patriots make the four or five big plays while the other team blows opportunities. The Pats don’t have superior personnel (although they did last night), they just execute. The Raiders turned over the ball one time and it became an almost instant seven points. Collins had success for a half then the Pats shut him down until the middle of the fourth quarter. The game was all but over at that point.
I will be in Pittsburgh this weekend. It’s ironic because I was born there, yet I’ll be cheering for the visiting team. It’s a bittersweet trip because two close relatives who were originally coming bowed out due to the hurricane. So it will be me and the wife in a hostile, yet strangely familiar, town.
Before I make bold predictions, don’t forget that the Titans were 12-4 and the Steelers were 6-10 just two years ago. The Steelers aren’t entitled to an easy win just because of last year’s result. The Titans may be undermanned in the secondary, but at least the group’s been together and injury-free throughout the preseason. If Ben Troupe can play that’s a big help for the Titans. Notice how Ben Watson rumbled through the Raiders’ defense last night? That’s what Troupe can do for the Titans. I expect him to show up in some three-wide formations. Roethlisberger still owns the town but he’s going to start getting the Kordell Stewart treatment if he can’t perform well this weekend. Albert Haynesworth and Randy Starks will need to bottle up Willie Parker on the inside.
Watch the Titans to make an early splash, much like the Raiders last night. Rob Bironas will doink a short field goal attempt a la Doug Brien in last year’s playoffs. Then the Steelers will put together a long drive or two. It might get ugly but I don’t think the Steelers have the firepower to torch the Titans too much. I’d rather concentrate on the game than mentally try to keep up with my various fantasy teams.