As part of the kickoff of this blog, I present to you the first, flagship prediction/pre-analysis/forecast of the 2009 NFL Season. Tonight, we'll examine Thursday night's season opener:
Steelers vs. Titans.
Over/Under: 34 1/2
Line: Steelers by 6 1/2
Take the under on this one. Frankly, I have a hard time seeing these two defensive-oriented teams putting up 35 points together. I have questions about the Steelers offensive line going against that Titans defense, even without Haynesworth. Granted, Tennessee sports a new defensive coordinator, and there is some age in the front seven, but they're still too good to give up a ton of points. Let's not forget that Pittsburgh isn't exactly an offensive powerhouse. I like their receivers, but again, the o-line scares me. As for Tennessee, they have the potential to be a pretty good offensive team, but not against the Steelers D. Their running game is excellent, but it just so happens that Pittsburgh's run defense is just as good. As a Giants fan, I simply can't believe in Kerry Collins as a big-time quarterback, and they have some questions at receiver.
Expect this game to be a physical battle, and the winner will climb out of the wreckage of a hard-fought defensive beat-down. These are two of the more physical teams in the league, and the more physical team wins this one.
I'd take the Titans for the points, but not the win.
If you're watching this game as a fantasy owner, I hope you have one of these defenses. Don't expect a ton of production from offensive players.
Winners: Either defense, but Pittsburgh is probably a safe bet; look for an INT and FF.
Losers: Kerry Collins - He's not going to be a fantasy stud, especially not against a ferocious pass rush and quality secondary.
Sleepers: Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh. Tennessee's secondary should be able to limit big plays from the Steelers' receivers, so keep an eye on Miller matching up on linebackers and safeties, and as big target in the red zone. Points in this game will be hard to come by, and this could be the guy to get them.