In a fitting tribute to a champion, the Pittsburgh Steelers jumpstart the NFL season as they meet the Tennessee Titans on Thursday. The Steelers are the consensus No. 1 team during the offseason as they retained most of their veterans in their lineup. They have also added some promising rookies that could create an impact and superb contribution to the team.
However, there are still few problems that may linger for the Steelers. First, the gripping rape case issued against QB Ben Roethlisberger. He may have played well enough into the preseason but this might be a distraction during the season if his case drags longer.
Then, there's Willie Parker's ability to stay healthy throughout the season. He missed out three preseason games and also 5 games last season due to injury. With Parker in the lineup, the Steelers' offense is far more effective when he's healthy.
This game is payback time for the Steelers; they were beaten by the Titans, 31-14, last season and have won four of the past five matchups. QB Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times in their last meeting.
Last season, the Tennessee Titans where on a roll and they did not lose its first game until Week 12. They have also secured the home court advantage throughout the playoffs. But it's totally different during the playoffs, it's a one loss you go home thing. So you need to win every game to stay alive until you reach the Super Bowl stage. The Titans where the favorite to win from the start but they stumbled at the wrong time.
Veteran DT Albert Haynesworth may have left a huge hole in the Titans' defensive line. He signed with the Washington Redskins during the offseason. In the 2007-08 season, Haynesworth did not start in 5 games and the Titans was just 1-4 during his absence. Will the Titans be able to plug the hole left by Haynesworth? We will know it on Thursday against the Steelers.
Here's a tip: The Steelers are the huge favorite to beat the Titans on Thursday. Why? They have no lost a season-opener since 2002.
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