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Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 Schedule Preview Week 6: at Tennessee Titans

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For Tennessee in 2012, it's not about who they brought in, it's who they're bringing back.

And when the Steelers travel to Nashville for an early-season Thursday night game, they'll face a Titans team that overcame several hurdles in 2011 to finish a respectable 9-7, just out of the money for the post-season.

It's unlikely the Steelers put the same kind of whipping they did in Week 6 of 2011, when the running game destroyed Tennessee en route to a 38-17 win. This figures to be one of the tougher opponents they'll face.

Titans Improvements

The return of WR Kenny Britt makes the Titans a much more formidable offense. The rising star was blistering the NFL through three games before tearing his ACL. In three games, he had 17 catches for 289 yards and three touchdowns. Spread that out over 16 games, he would have had around 90 catches for 1,531 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Assuming he is able to make a full recovery, he's a monster on the verge of elite status.

RB Chris Johnson engaged in an extensive holdout before the 2011 campaign, and he saw his numbers drop like a rock through water. The once-feared big play back was sharing carries toward the end of the season, scoring just four times and rushing for 1,047 yards, both career lows. So was his 4.0 yards per carry and 47 first down rushes.

He really has nowhere to go but up.

Titans Losses

CB Cortland Finnegan (St. Louis) and FS Chris Hope (unsigned) are out, but CB Jason McCourty and SS Michael Griffin (franchised) remain, giving the Titans a decent backbone of a secondary. A young defensive line beat out DL Jason Jones, and pure mike LB Barrett Ruud won't be missed much in a versatile front seven.

This series will go through each of the Steelers games slated on the 2012 NFL Schedule, and we'll evaluate how they stand post-draft and pre-training camp. We'll revisit this again in August, but for now, we're comparing where each team is compared to where they were last year.

at Denver

vs. New York Jets

at Oakland

vs. Philadelphia