Last Updated: Oct 11, 2012 3:27 PM
The Pittsburgh Steelers sit at 2-2 in the AFC North, and are coming off a hard-fought 16-14 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger heads into battle with a sharp 102.9 efficiency rating, and hasn’t chucked an interception since Week 1.
He is going to prey on Tennessee’s 25th ranked pass defense, which will be made even uglier while under the bright lights of Thursday Night Football.
Running back Rashard Mendenhall looked strong in his return to the NFL following his long recovery from knee surgery, as he bruised his way to 101 total yards from scrimmage last week. He will see little resistance from a Titans defense that is surrendering 144 rushing yards per outing.
Wide receivers Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace also have prime match-ups in prime time to exploit. Wallace notably found the end zone in two of his last three tilts, while Brown scored just once on the year but averages 84 yards in his last three appearances.
Tight end Heath Miller made four trips to pay dirt on the campaign, and it will be Miller Time tonight as Tennessee is allowing an NFL-worst 420 yards and seven touchdowns to the tight end position.
Good Starts: QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Rashard Mendenhall, WR Mike Wallace, WR Antonio Brown, TE Heath Miller
Middle of the Road: --
Bad Starts: RB Isaac Redman, WR Emmanuel Sanders
The Tennessee Titans are struggling through another nightmarish campaign, and naturally rank in the cellar of the AFC South at 1-4. They were most recently clobbered by the Minnesota Vikings, 30-7.
Aged veteran Matt Hasselbeck is making another start in place of the injured Jake Locker. Hasselbeck averages a measly 196 passing yards over the last two weeks, with three touchdowns and three interceptions over that span. He is not a viable fantasy option against Pittsburgh’s No. 3 ranked pass defense.
Running back Chris Johnson remains stuck in neutral, and carries a lethargic 2.9 yards per carry average on the campaign. Pittsburgh is a tad more pliable against the run, but still holds opponents under 100 yards per battle. In other words, have aspirin handy if you plan on plugging Johnson into lineups tonight.
Rookie Kendall Wright is being targeted heavily in Tennessee’s passing game, but still averages an unimpressive 51 receiving yards over his last three outings. Expect him to be a non-factor as Hasselbeck is thrown around like a ragdoll throughout the night.
Kenny Britt is coming off a 23-yard performance at Minnesota and this will not be the week be breaks out, especially while still dealing with his ankle injury.
Nate Washington faces his original team, but is also expected to be a non-factor against a swarming defense as he averages a measly 44 yards over the last two weeks.
Tight end Jared Cook has reached the end zone in two his last three games, and could be a sneaky play as Pittsburgh did allow three touchdowns to the position over four games.
Good Starts: --
Middle of the Road: RB Chris Johnson, TE Jared Cook
Bad Starts: QB Matt Hasselbeck, WR Nate Washington, WR Kenny Britt, WR Kendall Wright