RB - Derrick Henry
“King” Henry is the bell cow of the Titans’ offense. He is one of the toughest running backs in league history to bring down if a hole opens up. The Pittsburgh defense will need to mirror their defensive effort from last week and not allow Henry to run up and down the field.
Linebacker play for Pittsburgh was very active in last week’s contest and they will need to be on their toes again this week. The Tennessee offense has struggled in the passing game, similar to Pittsburgh. But if Henry gets going, it will open up the field for our next player to watch.
WR – DeAndre Hopkins
DeAndre Hopkins is most likely headed for the Hall of Fame. With some of the best hands and one of the best contested catch playmakers the game has seen in the last 15 years, he is the Tennessee passing attack.
Headed for another 1000 yard season, he is averaging a gaudy 16.3 yards per catch as the number one receiver on the team. The combination of Henry and Hopkins for the Steelers can be a scary concept considering how the team has played this season. Although the stat sheet from last weeks game against Jacksonville did not show an elite defensive outing for Pittsburgh, the defense did all it could against one of the top offenses in the league.
In order to have an opportunity the secondary must lock down Hopkins. Pittsburgh has been burned by elite receivers all season and although Tennessee is on the wrong side of .500, Hopkins and Henry can take over games.
DL – Jeffery Simmons and Denico Autry
Jeffery Simmons is having a career year at the age of 26. He and fellow veteran, Denico Autry, have 9.5 sacks and two forced fumbles, many coming from the interior. Autry is having a career type season as well at the ripe age of 33 and has not showed signs of slowing down.
When a team has an inside rush that can actually get to the quarterback, it typically means a tough day for an offense. Tennessee and the Steelers are similar in a lot of ways. Although this year is a little different for both squads offensively, both teams are still very physical and their defenses are formidable.