Pittsburgh Steelers: 2013 Record: 8-8 (2nd Place AFC North)??
The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most historical and proud franchises in the NFL. You know what you’re going to see from Pittsburgh, they’ve had the same identity since Chuck Knoll took over their coaching ranks in the 1960s. That foundation of excellence produced six Super Bowl titles.
The 2014 incarnation of the Steelers will again be lead by, Ben Roethlisberger. At his disposal in the backfield he’ll be able to count on running backs, Le’Veon Bell and veteran LeGarrette Blount. In and despite the loss of Emmanuel Sanders to free agency Antonio Brown, Marcus Wheaton, and Heath Miller; along with the free agent addition of Lance Moore, still provide enough weapons in the passing game to be effective. Defensively the Steelers did a little bit to get younger replacing LaMarr Woodley with rookie Ryan Shazier out of Ohio State. They are still a veteran group lead by Troy Polamalu, Brett Kiesel, and Ike Taylor. If their defense stays healthy, it should again be among the NFL’s best groups.
The Chiefs won’t see the Steelers until week 16. By then, this could be a matchup of playoff hopeful contenders or a matchup of teams looking forward to next season. Pittsburgh and Kansas City have met many times through the years but the Steelers lead the all-time series 19-10. The way this game turns out is going to depend a lot on which players are healthy and what’s at stake for each team when they meet. The Chiefs match up pretty evenly with Pittsburgh on both sides of the ball, but this game being a road contest, makes it a little tougher for the boys in red. No matter what though, it should be an interesting matchup.
Tennessee Titans: 2013 Record: 7-9 (2nd Place AFC South)??
Last season the Titans were a respectable 7-9 considering the team that dealt with injuries at the quarterback positions. However, Sundays starter in Kansas City, Jake Locker, held a 3-1 mark before injuries derailed his 2013 season.
In the off-season, Ken Wisenhunt, came over from the Chargers to take on the head coaching duties. He has a long standing NFL history of doing good things for struggling quarterbacks, Phillip Rivers and Kurt Warner to name a couple. His presence should be good for Jake Locker, who will try to lead a Titans offense that has some solid young receivers in Justin Hunter and Kendall Wright, plus former 49er Delanie Walker at TE. Chris Johnson left for the Jets in free agency, and the Titans will try to replace him in the backfield with a combination of rookie, Bishop Sankey and veteran journeyman, Shonn Green.
The Chiefs host the Titans on Sunday and will be hoping to shake off the rough preseason by starting off with a convincing home win. Tennessee was really good last year when Locker was playing. So with him healthy, despite the fact he might not be up to speed with his new offensive system, he can be dangerous.
To win this game, the Chiefs have to get pressure on Locker to help the secondary make plays against a potentially dangerous group of receivers. Offensively, the Chiefs need to control the ball and the clock, to keep the Titans offense off the field. Overall though, the Chiefs are the superior team and should come away with the victory, though it will be closer than you would think it should be.
I’ve got the score Kansas City 23 Tennessee 20.
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Can the Chiefs win both contests?
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