The NFL regular season is winding down, and each game has a possibility of altering the playoff picture for January. With the AFC playoff picture being a tight race between a handful of teams, this week’s game between the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers is massively important.
For the Titans, despite being hindered with injuries, they still have an opportunity to compete for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Seeing that Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown could be back in time for the playoffs, a bye in the first round would be beneficial for Tennessee.
On the other side of the field, the Steelers fell to 6-6-1 following their loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 14. Even with their latest loss, Pittsburgh is still able to secure a spot in the playoffs if they can take care of business in the final four weeks.
Continue reading below to see my Titans vs Steelers predictions, along with my favorite bets.
Please note that all NFL gameday odds are current as of 12:30 p.m. ET on Friday, December 17.
Titans vs Steelers Prediction
Even in the absence of Henry, the Titans haven’t strayed from their run-heavy offensive approach.
While Adrian Peterson had a short stint with Tennessee, the Titans are now leaning on a running back trio of Dontrell Hilliard, D’Onta Foreman, and Jeremy McNichols to fill the void left behind by Henry.
In the five games that Henry has missed thus far, Tennessee has managed to go 3-2, keeping them atop the AFC South. Ryan Tannehill hasn’t had to do much through the air, but it’s hard for him to have much success when Brown and Julio Jones have been sidelined for a large portion of the year.
Besides a strong running game, the Titans have been steadily improving on defense. Going back to Week 7 against the Kansas City Chiefs, in Tennessee’s last seven games, they’ve accumulated 19 sacks and 11 takeaways while allowing only 18.4 points per game.
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Meanwhile, the Steelers have shown flashes of being a potential playoff team, but they continue to dig themselves into holes early in games. An aging Ben Roethlisberger has struggled to find his rhythm at times, only for him to turn back the clock in others, but it is often too late to help Pittsburgh win once he turns it on.
And while the Pittsburgh defense still has talented players scattered around, they have been susceptible to the pass and run this season.
In last week’s matchup with the Vikings, Dalvin Cook gashed them for 205 yards and a touchdown on the ground, making him the fourth player to eclipse 90+ rushing yards versus the Steelers in the past five weeks.
If Pittsburgh’s defense is unable to contain Tennessee’s running game, it’s going to be a long day for the Steelers. I believe the Titans jump out to an early lead, force Roethlisberger to make mistakes, and are able to secure a win while Pittsburgh attempts another late-game comeback in the fourth quarter.
Prediction: Titans 27, Steelers 20
Titans vs Steelers Best Bets
Skyler Carlin 2021 NFL Betting Record: 4-12-0
Best Bet: Titans Moneyline (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
If both of these teams were fully healthy, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Titans would be favored in this game instead of it being a pick’em. Even though Tennessee is the road team, they’re facing a Pittsburgh squad that holds a 2-5 record against the spread at Heinz Field this season.
The Steelers are on the brink of missing the playoffs and currently sit in last place in the AFC North. It goes without saying that Pittsburgh is going to be motivated to make sure they aren’t watching the postseason from home.
However, it’s been hard to trust Roethlisberger and this offense for four quarters this season. It doesn’t help that Pittsburgh’s biggest weakness is their offensive line, while Tennessee has a strong defensive front led by Jeffery Simmons.
This game will likely be won by the team that plays mistake-free football. With the Titans not putting the ball in the air often, it’s more likely that Roethlisberger and the Steelers make a crucial error that leads to a victory for Tennessee.
Moreover, the Titans are 8-4 against the spread in their past 12 games, and they own a 4-2 record against the spread on the road thus far. Take them with your NFL bet of the day.
Best Bet: Over 43 Total Points (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 0.5 Units
To begin the week, the matchup between the Titans and the Steelers has the second-lowest projected total in Week 15, only behind the showdown between the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
With the total being so low, I’m intrigued with the Over due to the possibility of us getting multiple turnovers in this game. While the Titans are one of the slowest offenses in the NFL (24th in pace), the Steelers boast the 12th-fastest offense in the league.
I believe the Titans will secure an early lead over the Steelers, only for Roethlisberger to rally Pittsburgh to a late-game push that sends this one over the total.
The Over has hit in seven of Tennessee’s last eight road games. On top of that, it’s been reached in 12 of the last 18 meetings between the Titans and the Steelers.
I’m siding with the low Over in this one, but not with much confidence in either of these offenses.
Thank you for reading our Titans vs Steelers Predictions! For more NFL betting tips, check out our NFL Week 15 Best Bets.