The Steelers are looking to rebound and get to 5-3 at the midway point of the 2023 NFL season. To do so, they will have to get through the Tennessee Titans led by rookie quarterback Will Levis, who is coming off a four-touchdown performance in his NFL debut.
Ahead of this Thursday night matchup, we sat down with Jimmy Morris of Music City Miracles for some insight from the Titans’ perspective.
1. Will Levis had a historic performance in his debut, becoming just the third player in history to throw four touchdowns in his first start. How is Tennessee feeling after game No. 1 for Billy Jeans?
We are feeling great. Ryan Tannehill had thrown 2 touchdowns in 6 starts. Levis threw 4 in his first career start. He was in command of the offense, got them into a better play quite a few times, didn’t turn the ball over, and took deep shots to DeAndre Hopkins. The Titans need to spend the rest of the season figuring out if they can build around Levis or not.
2. There were rumors all season about Derrick Henry potentially getting moved, but he remains with the team. Would you have rather seen the Titans get picks for him?
That’s a tough question to answer. From a franchise building perspective, I see the value in moving him for draft picks, but as a fan, I didn’t want to see him traded. He has been the face of the franchise for the last 5 seasons. They already traded one player that will end up in their Ring of Honor in Kevin Byard. Trading a second one would have been a lot to take. Plus, if you are only getting a day three pick for a franchise legend is it really worth it?
3. The Titans’ front seven is incredibly nasty. For some fans who may not be aware of them, can you give us a little breakdown on what makes the likes of Teair Tart, Jeffrey Simmons and co. so destructive to opposing offenses?
Well the front is really good. Jeffery Simmons is one of the best defense tackles in the league. Teair Tart is a wrecking ball - especially against the run. Denico Autry is one of the most versatile and underrated players in the league. Those guys can collapse a pocket while Harold Landry and Arden Key rush from the EDGE. Landry is starting to finally look healed from the ACL injury that cost him the 2022 season. He has three sacks in the last two games. Those guys are just some of the toughest most relentless players in the league. They really embrace the Mike Vrabel philosophy.
4. The Titans’ offensive line had a rough first half of the season. Does that concern you going up against T.J. Watt and the Steelers’ front seven?
Absolutely it does - especially considering right tackle Chris Hubbard is likely going to miss with a concussion. He’s been really good. They will look to replace him with Nicholas Petit-Frere. NPF was the right tackle last year but missed the first four games of the season due to a gambling suspension. He wasn’t put right back in the starting lineup but took over at left tackle for the underperforming Andre Dillard in the game against the Ravens. He started at right tackle in the win against the Falcons but moved to right tackle when Hubbard went out. Dillard came back in at left tackle. The line has been better the last couple of weeks, but they will face one of their toughest tests of the season in this one.
5. DraftKings has the Steelers as three point favorites. Do the Titans cover the spread?
I have no idea how to predict this team. Every time I pick the to lose they win and vice versa. I really do think they are coming in on a confident high and can pull off the upset here. Give me Titans 17 Steelers 13.