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Crunching the Numbers: Comparing the similar resumes of the Steelers and Titans

Both teams come into the game undefeated, and they have defeated similar teams to get there.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Steelers Week 7 matchup against the undefeated Tennessee Titans is one of the biggest games in the NFL to occur this season. Of course, both fan bases are convinced their team holds the advantage over the other and will emerge victorious. Some even make claims about the other teams resume compared to each other coming into the game. But I’m sorry Titans fans, the resumes are actually quite close and the team which comes out on top may surprise you.

In this installment of Crunching the Numbers, we’ll take a look at some of the numbers in regards to the Steelers and Titans previous victories coming into Week 7


I know. This one’s obvious. We all know that both teams are entering this game with a 5-0. But they are also coming in having played two games after their impromptu bye courtesy of the Titans Covid situation. Both teams also have victories over two of the same teams in the 2-3 Denver Broncos and 1-5 Houston Texans.


One narrative about the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers is the quality of opponents they have faced. Interesting enough, the quality of the opponents of the Tennessee Titans is not that much different and is actually slightly worse. The combined record of the teams the Titans have faced in 2020 is 9-20 for a winning percentage of 31.0% while the teams the Steelers have faced are 10-20-1 with a winning percentage of 33.9%. The reason the Steelers opponents have two more games is because the Eagles and Giants already faced off in Week 7 on Thursday night. If the win and the loss from this past week are removed, the Steelers’ opponents still have a winning percentage of 32.8%.


Both the Titans and Steelers each have one victory over a team with a record over .500 on the season. The Titans defeated the 4-2 Buffalo Bills while the Steelers defeated the 4-2 Cleveland Browns. Interesting enough, both of these games were each teams largest margin of victory on the season.


Of the two quality wins listed previously by each team, those team’s two losses came at the hands of two teams that only have one combined loss on the season. The Buffalo Bills suffered their two losses to the Titans and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Cleveland Browns two losses on the season are to the Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens.


There is one area where the Titans and Steelers begin to show some separation. This area is in margin of victory on the season. In their five games of the 2020 season, the Tennessee Titans have an average margin of victory of 7.2 points per game. In fact, three of the Titans wins have been by a field goal or less.


When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers, their average margin of victory on the season is 12.4 points per game. The Steelers have only had one game decided by a difference of one score, and this game could have been a larger victory had the Steelers not taken a knee inside the 10 yard line to end the game.


One other way the Steelers’ victories have been slightly more impressive is the Steelers have covered the point spread in four of their five games this year. The only exception was their game against the Denver Broncos in which they were favored by six points and won by five. As for the Titans, they have covered the point spread twice this season. The first game was where they were not favored to win against the Buffalo Bills. The other game the Titans covered was last week against the Houston Texans when it took overtime to decide the winner.

So there are some numbers in regards to the Steelers and the Titans when it comes to their individual paths to a record of 5-0. The notion of the Steelers having a less impressive resume than the Titans is quite ridiculous, but I also wouldn’t make the argument it definitely was much in the other direction. Yes, the Steelers have defeated teams with a slightly better record on the season as well as defeating them by a larger margin. Regardless of resume, the most impressive victory on the season for one of these teams is going to come in Week 7.