Despite the displeasure of Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers will play on Thursday night against the 6-3 Titans of Tennessee. The Titans have a slew of talent, but how well do we know these guys? The following is BTSC's primer for the Thursday night spectacular on NBC.
*No. 8 QB Marcus Mariota
The Hawaiian passer has adapted his game to having poise as a pocket passer, but his improv skills outside on the run as the picket collapses help him win games. The third-year QB from Oregon helped bring Tennessee back from the dead against Cincy and could prove dangerous against an ailing secondary. A 63.2% passer with 1,519 yards, the Heisman winner from Oregon has six TDs to five picks on the 2017 season.
Other Titans Quarterbacks to Note: No. 16 Matt Cassel, No. 3 Brandon Weeden
*No. 29 RB Demarco Murray/No. 22 RB Derrick Henry
Murray is one of the best running backs of the last five years. His 433 yards and four scores make up only half of the league's seventh-best rushing attack. Henry, with 409 and three score, leads the team with 4.4 ypc. Both can sustain drives and move chains.
Other Titans Running Backs to Note: No. 32 David Fluellen, *No. 45 FB Jalston Fowler
*No. 18 WR Rishard Matthews
Even with rookie Corey Davis health and emerging, Matthews remains Mariota's top target. The 6' Matthews has two scores and 463 yards on 31 catches for the season. Not a great route runner, but has a good combo of size and speed.
Other Titans Wide Receivers to Note: No. 13 Taywan Taylor, *No. 87 Eric Decker, No. 14 Eric Weems, No. 84 Corey Davis, No. 15 Darius Jennings
*No. 82 TE Delanie Walker
Walker is a dangerous weapon for Mariota. He blocks well, he catches what comes his way and he breaks tackles. Walker, with 43 receptions for 458 yards, is ranked third among tight ends with catches.
Other Titans Tight Ends to Note: No. 89 Phillip Supernaw, No. 81 Jonnu Smith
*No. 78 RT Jack Conklin
The Titans have two top-shelf bookends at the tackles in Conklin and Taylor Lewan. Bud Dupree vs. the strong, tough and agile Conklin will be a fun matchup to watch.
Other Titans Offensive Linemen to Note: No. 67 LG Quinton Spain, No. 60 C Ben Jones, No. 64 RG Josh Klein, No. 77 Taylor Lewan, No. 71 T Dennis Kelly, No. 61 Corey Levin, No. 62 C Brian Schwenke
*No. 99 DT Jurell Casey
Casey may just be the most dominant player among the front seven. He has more than justified his contract extension before the season. Casey has proved dominant against the run and the pass. He will garner tons of attention on a Thursday night.
Other Titans Front Sevento Note: No. 96 NT Sylvester Williams, *No. 90 LDE DaQuan Jones, No. 95 David King, No. 94 Austin Johnson, No. 97 Karl Klug, *No. 91 LOLB Derrick Morgan, *No. 59 LILB Wesley Woodward, *No. 54 RILB Avery Williamson, No. 98 ROLB Brian Orapko, No. 92 OLB Kevin Dodd, No. 55 Jayon Brown, No. 50 Nate Palmer, No. 93 Erik Walden, No. 53 LB Daren Bates
*No. 25 RCB/PR Adoree' Jackson
Jackson is a playmaker, plain and simple. Improving week-to-week, the Souther Cal first-rounder is becoming dominant for Tennessee. He broke up two passes on Sunday and allowed only four catches for 27 yards, on the season, the rookie has six pass deflections.
*No. 31 FS Kevin Byard
Another dominating youngster in the secondary for the Titans is Byard. The second-year man from Middle Tennessee State leads the NFL in interceptions with six. Byard had five in two games back in Week's seven and nine. Byard is an excellent run defender as well.
Other Titans Defensive Backs to Note:
*No. 37 SS Jonathan Cyprien, No. *26 LCB Logan Ryan, *No. 25 RCB Adoree' Jackson, *No. 31 FS Kevin Byard, No. 23 CB Brice McCain, No. 36 CB LeShaun Sims, No. 21 S Da'Norris Stacy, No. 35 S Riley Curtis, No. 33 CB Tye Smith, No. 24 CB Kalan Reed, No. 41 S Brynden Trawick
*No. 14 KR Eric Weems
Weems has been around quite a while, but he's a return man that specializes in just that well. The Pro Bowler is having a down year, but us an intelligent returner that can make opposing special teams pay.
Other Titans Special Teamers to Note: No. 4 K Ryan Succop, No. 6 P Brett Kern, No. 25 PR Adoree' Jackson, No. 48 LS Beau Brinkley