The Steelers and Titans both have something to prove in this opening game. It's been said all off season that the Steelers will be lucky to finish third in the division behind the Ravens and Bengals. But with the Ravens embarrassing loss in the 2013 NFL Kickoff game, the Steelers have an opportunity to change perception.
To make that happen, both Woodley and Worilds need to make sure the Titans feel their presence, and I mean "feel" literally. It's well known that when Woodley gets sacks, the Steelers get wins. And givng the Steelers the edge, there have been a variety of changes on the Titans offensive line and while they have added some veterans to the line, it's still unlikely they can handle Woodley, Worilds or even Jarvis Jones.
On the flip side, the Titans pass rush hopefully will not be too much for the Steelers young offensive line. Ben should have time to get the ball out to the receivers - a great opportunity for Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders to show their strengths. The line has proven shaky and injury prone. This season they need to come together and prove they are better than we think they are.
This first game is also an opportunity for Felix Jones and Isaac Redman to let Steeler Nation know a running game does in fact exist despite the loss of Le'Veon Bell to injury and Dwyer being cut. Recently I talked to Marshall Faulk about the Steelers running game and he said he didn't think either Redman or Dwyer were feature backs. That said, he also felt that when you pay a quarterback a $100 million dollars, you shouldn't be as focused on the run game.
I agree with Faulk to an extent, however you can't throw the ball every down.
Let's face it, the Steelers need to definitively win this game. I don 't know about you, but I don't know what kind of team the Steelers are going to be. I predict better than 8-8, but how much better remains to be seen. And it starts up front....tomorrow.