The Week 9 slate starts with Levis under the Lights.
After a thrilling debut from the second-round rookie, Will Levis, the Titans head to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers in a primetime matchup with a lot on the line. For the Titans, tonight is a chance to get back to .500 and feel like the team’s playoff hopes are very much alive. Ran Carthon and company may already feel that way, win or lose, as the Titans stood pat on Tuesday at the trade deadline.
The Steelers also see this game as an opportunity to keep pace in an AFC North division that may be the toughest in the entire league. With Joe Burrow feeling like Joe Cool again, the Ravens and Lamar Jackson looking dominant, and the Browns scraping together a winning season so far, every game counts. For our full preview of the game, check out The Hot Read Podcast!
Here are 10 stats that you need to know for Titans at Steelers in this week’s Titans Ten:
1. Historical Woes Against the Steelers
The Titans once again head to the Steel City in their first true primetime game of the season. Even with the promise of Levis and the firepower surrounding the team on both sides of the bal;l, it has not historically boded well for the Two-Toned Blue. The Titans are 1-5 in their last five games against the Steelers, with their only win coming at the formerly known Heinz Field in 2013. Since the Titans became the Titans and moved to Nashville, the two teams are 10-10 against each other. The outcome tonight will set the edge going forward for the two teams.
2. A Titanic Coaching Matchup
While the second outing of Will Levis is the main topic of discussion, the coaching matchup between these two teams should not be neglected. Mike Vrabel and Mike Tomlin will face off tonight in a battle that displays two of the league’s best.
The Titans once again come into the game as a +2.5 point underdog, which is a very tasty spot for bettors looking to cash in on the Titans. Vrabel is one of the best coaches as an underdog all time, and shows no signs of slowing down yet. In games where the spread is three or less, Mike `Vrabel is 4-1 ATS this season and 19-16-2 ATS all time. Vrabel also has his guys coming into Pittsburgh off a win where the Two-Toned Blue were underdogs against the Falcons. When Vrabel gets a win as an underdog and is not favored again the next week, he is 9-4 all time.At 25-24 SU as an underdog, Vrabel is one of only three coaches to have a .500 or above record in such stat. One of the other coaches to achieve the same feat? Mike Tomlin.
The one coach that may be able to best Vrabel when it comes to betting is Mike Tomlin. The long time Steelers coach will look to close on the books as a favorite of three or less. In that spot, Tomlin is 85-56-6 ATS all time, and 33-18-4 when at home. Tomlin also has his team playing a second game at home tonight after a loss to the Jaguars last Sunday. When the Steelers play homestand of two or more consecutive games, Tomlin is 27-17-2 ATS, the second best coach in that spot behind Bill Belicheck.
5. Short Rest A Factor?
Vrabel is coming off a much needed win after the bye, which makes the five year head coach of the Titans a perfect 6-0 after the bye. But with both teams coming into tonight on short rest, it may play a factor into who gets the edge. Mike Tomlin fares better at home than away on short rest, going 17-11-1 all time at home and 7-8 on the road. Vrabel also has experience getting his team ready in a hurry, posting a 11-4 record all time when faced with short rest. Vrabel is the second most profitable coach on short rest in the last 20 years.
The Verdict? The razor thin margin leans Vrabel, but it’s anybody’s game.
6. Pickett Shines At Night
Despite backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky finishing the game last Sunday for an injured Kenny Pickett, the sophomore quarterback will play this week picking up right where he left off leading black and gold. Despite a lackluster second season, Kenny Pickett has been spectacular at night, holding a 5-1 record and a perfect 6-0 record ATS in games played at night. Can the Titans bring Pickett back down to earth? Only time will tell.
7. Gunslinging’ Levis
Will Levis lit Nissan Stadium on fire this past Sunday with his 238 yard and 4 TD performance. The rookie will look to encore that performance under the lights against a much more potent defensive unit. Still, even if Levis doesnt ball out like he did against the Falcons, the rookie could look to move up the history books.
If Levis were to throw just one touchdown pass this week, he still would become seventh player in NFL history to throw five or more touchdown passes in his first two games. If Levis were to throw 2 or more touchdowns tonight, Levis could tie or even leapfrog former Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota for the most touchdown passes thrown through a quarterback’s first two games all time.
8. A Struggling Steelers Offense
Another storyline heading into tonight’s matchup is the woes of a Matt Canada offense. Despite the Steelers sitting at 4-3, Matt Canada’s offense currently ranks 30th in terms of scoring; a good six spots below the Titans. The Steelers also have gained the least amount of yards of any team this year, only recording 1,902 total yards
It’s almost impressive as the steelers are currently on a 42 game streak without 400 or more total yards of offense in a game. It’s the longest active streak of any team and the longest streak since the Rams had an offensive drought between 2014-2017 (46 games). The Titans will look to keep the streak alive, only allowing an average of 339.4 yards a game through nine weeks.
9. Primetime King Henry
Then again, Will Levis may not have to do all the heavy lifting after all. The Titans also have a primetime cheat code in Derrick Henry, who did not in fact get dealt at the deadline amidst rumors. Henry will look to continue his season with the Titans and put up a dominant performance tonight. In 20 primetime games, Derrick Henry has rushed for 1,913 yards and has found the endzone 18 times for the Titans. His average of 95.7 rushing yards per game leads all running backs since 2000 in such stat and even bests the likes of Shaun Alexander, Edgerin James, and Tiki Barber. If Henry puts on a clinic tonight, it could be just another line written on his application to the Hall of Fame.
10. The King’s March Continues
And as Henry looks to stat-pad his impressive primetime numbers, the eighth year running back could look to set even more records tonight in Pittsburgh.
With a 100 yard rushing performance against the Steelers, Henry could tie Earl Campbell for the franchise record in games with at least 100 yards rushing. The King could also surpass Chris Johnson for the second most games in franchise history with 100 or more yards from scrimmage.
And Finally, if Henry were to rush for 139 yards tonight, the running back would eclipse 9000 yards in his career and continue his trek onwards towards Eddie George’s record.