1. Heinz Sweet Heinz
The Steelers haven't lost their home-opener since Kordell Stewart's second start of the 2002 season. Ten consecutive home-openers have gone in the Steelers' favor, including all six of Mike Tomlin's career. Two of the 10 wins came at the hands of the Tennessee Titans - 2006 and 2009. Whether the Steelers are simply magical in their first home game each year or otherwise, the Steelers are 6.5 point favorites for a reason.
2. Defensive chaos
Like every other team, the Titans don't have a player on their offensive line who played against the Steelers the last time Casey Hampton was not on this team. The energetic and athletic Steve McLendon gives the Steelers much more versatility along their defensive front. This enables the Steelers to get after quarterbacks and ball carriers alike in a way teams can't be prepared for adequately. Pittsburgh's Week 2 opponents, the Chicago Bears, may be a little more film on what the Steelers will be doing defensively than Tennessee will, but them's the breaks.
3. Inexperienced QB
Tennessee's Jake Locker seems to have a long learning curve. Maybe he ends up being a Hall of Fame quarterback, who knows? But going against the Steelers' defense on the road isn't easy for any quarterback, let alone one who hasn't played against them before, certainly not in a hostile environment like a regular season opener.
Much was made about the overhaul Tennessee put over its offensive line. What about its defense? The Titans ranked last in points allowed (29.4) in 2012, and unlike the additions of Andy Levitre, Rob Turner and Chance Warmack to their offensive line, safeties Bernard Pollard and George Wilson were the key additions on defense. Pollard is something of a liability in coverage, and neither are going to be the catalyst behind why teams start scoring nine points less a game. The Steelers' offense is dynamic enough to present match-up problems to Tennessee's secondary, even if running the ball looks to be a challenge, considering the athleticism of the Titans' front seven.
5. When in doubt, bet on Ben
The quarterbacks in this game can both feel the weight of their respective teams on their shoulders. It's much easier to trust Roethlisberger playing at home over Locker playing on the road. It may just be as simple as that. Roethlisberger is more comfortable with this offense (the Titans are playing in their first game with new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains) and has two receivers who have been with him their entire pro careers. The Steelers just have too much working in their favor in terms of continuity, but more than anything, they have a steep advantage in the most important position of the game - the quarterback.
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