Ben Roethlisberger had thrown an NFL-record dozen touchdown passes in two games heading into last week’s apparent mismatch against the New York Jets. Roethlisberger managed just one, however, against New York’s injury-riddled secondary and the Steelers were stunned by New York, which had lost eight straight. Pittsburgh looks to get the aerial attack back in form when it visits the Tennessee Titans on Monday night.
Pittsburgh’s dud against New York snapped its three-game winning streak and dropped the Steelers into a tie for third place in the crowded AFC North Division. The Titans, looking to the future, are riding a three-game losing streak but they have won the past two and eight of the last 10 meetings in the series. Rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger will make his third NFL start and has thrown three touchdown passes and two interceptions in his prior two.
TV: 8:30 p.m., ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: Most shops opened the Titans as 5-point home dogs, and that has moved to +6. The total has come down a half-point from the opening 47.
INJURY REPORT: Steelers – NT Steve McLendon (Questionable, shoulder), LB Ryan Shazier (Questionable, ankle), S Troy Polamalu (Out, knee). Titans – TE Delanie Walker (Questionable, concussion), DT Sammie Hill (Questionable, hamstring), RB Dexter McCluster (Questionable, knee).
WEATHER FORECAST: Temperatures will be in the mid-20s with wind blowing across the field at 10 mph.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Steelers (+0.25) – Titans (+5.25) + home field (-3.0) = Steelers -2
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Pittsburgh had its three-game winning streak snapped and heads out on the road again Monday night in Tennessee. 11-5 ATS L16 after scoring 15 or fewer points. Tennessee has been outgained in six-straight games and hosts a rare Monday night game against the Steelers. Titans are 7-18-2 ATS L27 home games.” Covers Expert Matt Fargo.
CHEERLEADER WAR: The Steelers don’t have cheerleaders, so here’s a dedicated fan in lieu of a cheerleader.
ABOUT THE STEELERS (6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS, 6-4 O/U): Led by Roethlisberger’s surge, Pittsburgh ranks first in the NFL in total offense. Antonio Brown leads the league in receptions and receiving yardage, but the Steelers have become one-dimensional as of late. Running back Le’Veon Bell has just 56 yards on 21 carries in his last two games, but he figures to have more success against a defense that was torched for 112 yards on the ground by Justin Forsett in a loss to Baltimore last week.
ABOUT THE TITANS (2-7 SU, 2-6-1 ATS, 3-6 O/U): Mettenberger is completing 63.2 percent of his passes but he will be without one of his top targets in tight end Delanie Walker, who suffered a concussion last week. Running back Dexter McClusker is also questionable with a knee injury, further hindering an offense that ranks 31st in the league. Tennessee opened the season with a win at Kansas City but has just one other victory – a home win over the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars.
* Underdog is 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings.
* Steelers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 meetings in Tennessee
* Titans are 4-0 ATS in their last four Monday games.
* Under is 4-1 in Steelers last five road games.
COVERS CONSENSUS: According to Covers Consensus, 74 percent of bettors are backing the Steelers.