Bold and Bizarre predictions for Steelers vs. Titans, Week 7

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers

Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Much to the chagrin of most, BTSC’s Nostradumbass predicts the Steelers’ Week 7 matchup with the Titans.

The Steelers are finally in Nashville to start their long road trip of three games. Striving to start 2020 at 6-0, the face one of the finest minds in the game in Mike Vrabel and his tough Tennessee Titans. Will they do it? There are many questions to be answered first. With inquiries, story lines, and more, I’ve compiled a list of predictions (some basic, and some utterly idiotic) to look for in this opening contest.

Last week, I came close, but ultimately whiffed on most of my predictions. Let’s see if I can rebound this week.


  • Boujee Smith-Schuster, angered that known Titans super fan Tim McGraw ignored his request to record a duet on the pooch’s concept album, is arrested for showing up to the country legend’s spacious Nashville mansion in an Uber, posing as an air conditioning repairman and chewing the crooner’s favorite Stetson to bits. JuJu is late for pre-game warmups posting his dog’s bail.
  • Yes, pay phones do exist in some locales and a large man wearing a custom Steelers Kylo Ren helmet is seen fleeing a Beale Street phone booth. The unidentified suspect reportedly called the Titans locker room and impersonated an official from the NFL claiming that Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, Jonnu Smith, Justin Simmons and T-Rac the mascot all tested positive for COVID. The Titans failed to believe the mystery caller.
  • Mike Vrabel, finding another loophole in the NFL record book, gets the Steelers nailed with a penalty nobody ever heard of in the third quarter.
  • Ben Roethlisberger is sacked only once on the afternoon and throws for three scores on the Music City afternoon.
  • Chase Claypool another rushing touchdown. Bold and Bizarre predictions for Steelers vs. Tennessee Titans, Week 7
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster catches one of those TD passes from Ben and proceeds to celebrate by putting on a Michael Myers mask, wielding the football in the air in a knifing motion and walking painfully slow across the end zone. The perceived celebration is to commemorate the release of Halloween on this date in 1978.
  • The Steelers’ hold on to the football the entire game and the new turnover-free streak extends to two.
  • With plenty of attention being paid to JuJu and Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson catches two touchdown passes from Ben Roethlisberger and ends up with 110 yards on the day.
  • James Conner goes in to gain over a combined 130 yards on the day with 104 yards rushing and 26 through the air.
  • Terrell Edmunds picks off Ryan Tannehill for his second career interception.
  • T.J. Watt gets a sack, but Bud Dupree gets two. The Steelers get 4 on the afternoon to raise their season total to 28.
  • The Steelers defense can’t keep Derrick Henry out of the end zone on two occasions, but the superstar running back is held under 100 yards.
  • The Steelers don’t crack 38 for a third consecutive game, but by a score of 34-28 they prevail to go 6-0.

Will any of this actually happen? I’ll bet at least one or two. Heck, maybe every one of them. Be sure to post your predictions — basic or bizarre — below.

Buccaneers vs. Raiders odds, line: 2020 NFL picks, Week 7 predictions from proven model

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take on the Las Vegas Raiders at 4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon at Allegiant Stadium. This game was originally scheduled to be played on Sunday evening, but COVID-19 concerns for the Raiders moved the game out of the prime-time slot. The game, however, is expected to be played at this new time barring any setbacks on Sunday morning.

The Raiders are 3-2 overall and 1-1 at home, while the Buccaneers are 4-2 overall and 1-2 on the road. Tampa Bay is favored by five points in the latest Raiders vs. Buccaneers odds from William Hill, and the over-under is set at 52. Before entering any Buccaneers vs. Raiders picks, you’ll want to see the NFL predictions from the model at SportsLine.

The model, which simulates every NFL game 10,000 times, is up

Titans vs. Steelers could be the game of the year

NFL: Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Expect a shootout in Week 7.

The Steelers have a really good defense. let me be clear about that, they are a top 5 defense right now, and are likely to do what Mike Tomlin defenses do, and get better as the season continues. I’m a huge fan of this defense, and I think they can thrive even without Devin Bush.

But this isn’t about the whole season, how good this defense is the last 6 weeks and into the playoffs, or how we will look at this defense 5 years from now. This is week 7, facing the Tennessee Titans, and an offense that is the best in the NFL.

The Steelers offense is underrated, they are better than the normal stats say they are, and while they are not producing the numbers the Titans are, they are also a really good offense.

Just hear me out.


Scoring rate over total points

The No. 1 goal of any offense is to score points.

But total points is misleading, points per game doesn’t cut it either, because chances matter. Like a basketball payer who scores 35 points on 40 shots versus a basketball player who scores 30 points on 24 shots, which one is better? The guy who shot almost twice as much scored more, but he also missed a lot more, the better scorer is the one that scored more efficiently. In the same way in baseball numbers like slugging percentage tell you the best hitters more than total hits or total RBIs.

In football, each possession an offense gets is a scoring chance. You can score once per possession, and an offense can’t score without a possession. So to look for the best NFL offense, the first thing to look for isn’t how much they score, but how often they score.

Scoring percentage is simply the percentage of drives that an offense gets that result in a score. In scoring percentage the Titans rank 2nd in the NFL at 54.7%. The Pittsburgh Steelers rank 15th at 43.9%.

The problem with scoring percentage is all scores aren’t equal, so a better mark is often points per drive, which is just points scored divided by the number of drives you get.

The Titans and Steelers are both effective at scoring touchdowns, and in points per drive the Titans rank #1 in the NFL at 3.15, while the Steelers rank 9th with 2.58 points per drive.


The three main results

An offensive drive has three main possible results: a score, a punt and a turnover. Those are the most likely results. The important thing about those results is more than just if you scored or not, because those results also affect the other team’s offense and your defense.

Here’s a quick look at the scoring percentage of drives from 2019 and 2020 depending on how they start.

The difference in drives that follow a punt or kickoff is minimal. Of course, the fact that you are kicking off because you just scored certainly helps your chances of winning the game. Drives that follow turnovers are on average far more successful. Drives following turnovers are the only drives that aren’t most likely to end in a punt, and the most likely result is a touchdown. A missed field goal is worse than a punt, but still much better than a turnover.

We can simplify the three basic outcomes by stating that a score is very good, a punt is roughly neutral and a turnover is very bad. Shocking, I know. Isn’t it great that stats can tell us that?


Stats Nerdery

(you can skip to the next part if you just want the results)

This leads us to a fantastic, simple metric. Scoring percentage minus turnover percentage. This metric helps account for the number of times an offense puts their own defense in a bad spot, and not just how good they are at scoring.

Consider the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New England Patriots of 2019, the Buccaneers scored on 38.3% of drives and averaged 2.12 points per drive. The Patriots scored on 36.8% of drives and averaged 1.99 points per drive. The Buccaneers were the better offense right?

No. The Buccaneers turned the ball over on 20.7% of their drives, compared to the Patriots 7.6%, Those turnovers put a really good Buccaneers defense in constant bad spots and led to more points being scored by the opposition. Of course, following the 2019 season the Buccaneers signed the Patriots quarterback to help solve their turnover issues, and they are a much better team because of it.

When you subtract the percentage of drives ending in a turnover from the percentage of drives resulting in a score, the Titans become the #1 offense, and the Steelers move from 15th in scoring percentage to 7th in scoring minus turnover percentage.

Now again that leaves out the difference between scoring touchdowns and scoring field goals, and we don’t like that. So lastly we can discount field goal drives by making them worth 3/7ths of a touchdown drive and adapting the scoring percentage accordingly.

That gives you a metric I like to call dynamic scoring percentage. Again the Steelers and Titans score more touchdowns than average. The Titans are the number one team in the NFL in dynamic scoring percentage, and the Steelers rank 9th. If you subtract turnover percentage from the dynamic scoring percentage, you get a metric that values touchdowns over field goals and accounts for the negative effects of turnovers.


The point, why this matchup is a big deal

When you take dynamic scoring percentage and subtract turnover percentage, the Titans stand at the top of the NFL, as the clear best offense in the NFL. The Steelers, for their part are the #5 offense in the NFL. While the Steelers aren’t putting up big numbers, their effectiveness at scoring touchdowns and their consistency protecting the football make them a much better offense than counting stats give them credit for.

These same stats can be used to evaluate defenses, and the Steelers defense ranks third in Dynamic scoring percentage minus turnover percentage. When the two are combined, the Steelers rank as the #1 team in the NFL.

When you look at overall dynamic scoring minus turnover percentage, there are 6 teams that stand out above the rest of the NFL, those six teams are the Steelers, Chiefs, Ravens, Buccaneers, Seahawks and Titans.

One of my favorite aspects of the family of scoring percentage minus turnover percentage family of stats is they predict playoff success better than other metrics, as turnovers take on even more importance in playoff games.

This game is a matchup between two of the top teams in the NFL right now, and two that are showing right now that they are in the mix of Super Bowl favorites.


The Steelers offense needs to win this game

The Titans are the number one offense even with a good number of games lost to injury by key players. Receivers Corey Davis and A.J. Brown have both missed multiple games, and yet the Titans under Ryan Tannehill are still one of the most efficient passing offenses in the NFL. The Steelers can’t come into this game, shut down the run and expect Ryan Tannehill to fall apart. The Steelers can’t focus on pass rush and coverage with Derrick Henry in the backfield.

The Titans are going to move the ball, and they are likely going to score touchdowns. For all the Steelers defensive success in 2019 and 2020 they haven’t been one of the best teams at preventing touchdowns, and the Titans are one of the best at scoring them.

In the current NFL, with the rules pushing scoring up every year the odds of the Steelers defense holding the Titans to a low score are laughable. The Titans are going to score on the Steelers. The Steelers defense needs to get some key stops and slow down the Titans scoring, but they won’t stop it.

To win this game, the Steelers are going to need Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense to be able to match the Titans offense, and I think that’s what will happen. This is the game the Steelers are going to need Ben Roethlisberger to step up and carry the team to a big win, and that makes this a must-watch game.

The NFL COVID-19 plan isn't working. Fix it to protect players, profits and US society.

Americans need sports as an escape and a recharge. But COVID is hard to control and can be devastating. The NFL’s current plan is unacceptable.

The NFL season is on the brink of collapse. So far, there have been more than 100 positive coronavirus cases among players and personnel. To date, two teams have experienced outbreaks and others have had isolated cases. Aside from routine testing and some basic risk mitigation interventions — masks for coaches and referees during the game — the league has done little to ensure a safe work environment or promote positive public health messaging.

In fact, it is promoting a harmful and counterproductive narrative that infections are the result of players misbehaving. The NFL could, however, ensure a successful season, protect players and staff, provide resources to vulnerable communities, and help change the narrative around coronavirus — all at the same time.

Thus far, the NFL has been lucky. It has administered more than 400,000 tests,and has a positivity rate below 1%, and no player or staff member has become critically ill or died. But it’s a matter of time. Even young, healthy people can have devastating short and long-term health consequences. Several cases of myocarditis (inflammation and damage to the heart muscle that is potentially fatal) from SARS-CoV-2 have been reported in young athletes, and emerging data suggests long-term effects on other vital organs. Of course, the full extent of damage from this virus will not be known for years.

NFL COVID rules need to be tighter

While the NFL has a robust testing protocol, testing is but one aspect of a comprehensive plan. Players are not required to wear masks, coaches violate mask wearing rules, and locker rooms remain small, enclosed poorly ventilated spaces making them perfect incubation chambers for SARS-CoV-2. Furthermore, games are being played in coronavirus “hot spots” with each game putting people at risk.

Unfortunately, the league has engaged in the harmful narrative that infections are the result of player misbehavior. Blaming is counterproductive to behavior change. Because of the broad influence that the NFL has on American culture, this narrative bleeds into society and makes it more difficult for public health officials to promote and disseminate pragmatic strategies for risk reduction.

What, then, is the league to do?

First, the NFL needs to address the safety of their players and staff. It has said that it will not consider the “bubble” model though this is a successful model as evidenced by other professional leagues. Opponents of this model say that it will be too difficult to implement since most games are played on Sundays, but the league is already shuffling around games so moving a few games to week nights is not so difficult and may also bring in additional advertising revenue.

This plan also means that there is no need for ongoing universal testing. The league can donate all of the precious unused rapid tests to congregate settings such as homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and nursing homes, that have few resources but a disproportionate burden of infections. By doing so, the NFL could become a true community partner.

If the league is unwilling to move to the bubble model, then they need to hold games in cities that are not coronavirus “hot spots.” Rather than holding games in cities with high incidence rates, games should be moved to cities in Oregon, Vermont, and New York, reducing infection risk. This also opens up the NFL to new markets and fans, meaning more potential revenue in the long term.

Don’t assume you’re safe: At 24 years old, I thought youth protected me from COVID-19. That idea got knocked out of me.

In either case, the NFL must ensure that facilities are adequate for the safety of the employees. Visiting teams’ locker rooms are small and uncomfortable. Locker rooms must have appropriate ventilation and safe distancing must be achievable. If visiting locker rooms cannot be immediately upgraded, then teams need to dress and undress in shifts or prior to arrival. All personnel need to wear masks when indoors.

These basic measures are expected of youth sports so it is reasonable to expect the same from professional athletes. Finally, the NFL Players’ Association needs to insist that long term health effects of coronavirus — whatever they may be — are covered by the NFL.

NFL can promote masks to the public 

In addition to these structural changes, the league needs to develop ways to encourage players to reduce their risk and stop the dangerous yet pervasive practice of blaming people who are infected. It is well-known from experience with HIV, tuberculosis and Ebola that these messages are ineffective and harmful. Instead, the league can provide bonuses or other incentives to players and teams that avoid infections. They already provide bonuses for other things — for players who perform well enough to make it to the Pro Bowl (which is canceled) or to teams that play in the Super Bowl. A coronavirus-free season bonus is no different.

Cases rising: COVID isn’t disappearing. It’s making a comeback.

Given the power and influence of the NFL on American culture, the league also the opportunity to make masks and infection prevention more acceptable to the general public, reaching people that scientists cannot. They can make authentic, limited release masks to be sold to fans and ask players to appear in public service announcements about the importance of masks and social distancing.

If the NFL is unwilling to do any of this, then they must cancel the season. All players and personnel must receive their full pay and benefits. An organization that generates more than $16 billion a year can afford it.

Americans need sports as an escape and a recharge. But this virus is difficult to control and can have devastating effects. The current plan is unacceptable. The NFL has the opportunity to protect players and staff and make a positive change in the U.S. in the fight against coronavirus.

Dr. Joshua Barocas is an infectious diseases physician and public health researcher at Boston Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. He is also a Denver Broncos fan. Follow him on Twitter: @jabarocas

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Know Your Enemy: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tennessee Titans, Week 7

NFL: Preseason-Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The complete break down on the Tennessee Titans, from the Steelers perspective.

For the first time in over a month the Steelers take to the road. For the second time this year that opponent is the Tennessee Titans. The first scheduled match up was delayed after a Covid-19 outbreak in the Titans facility. The matchup has only grown in size as both teams enter a perfect 5-0 with a loan spot atop the AFC standings on the line.

Location/Time

NFL: Tennessee Titans vs Pittsburgh Steelers Rescheduled
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

1PM EDT Sunday, Like I said earlier this will only be the Steelers second road game of the year after playing four consecutive games at home. The Steelers and Titans have been neck and neck recently within the confined’s of Nissan Stadium. Each team has won two games a piece in the last four games in Tennessee.


Titans Best Player

Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans
Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Derek Henry may just be the best running back in football in 2020. He has a unparrelled combination of size, power, and speed. Which he will use to beat teams down before gashing them for long runs. The Steelers have shut down some of the best rushers in football thus far, but on Sunday they will face their greatest challenge yet.


Weakest position group

New Orleans Saints v Tennessee Titans
Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Titans are by far the most buttoned up team the Steelers have faced to date. They don’t have many weaknesses which proved to make this selection a challenge. The Titans linebackers might be one spot that the Steelers can take advantage of. Former Indianapolis Colt Eric Ebron, has experience/success playing against the AFC south and could play a big factor playing against Jayon Brown and Harold Landry. They’re still a talented bunch but there will be room to make plays.


Coaching

Buffalo Bills v Tennessee Titans
Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Mike Vrabel is to what defensive coaching is, as to what Kyle Shannahan is to offensive. He’s a bright young mind that has his team firing on all cylinders. Vrabel has established a high level of culture in Tennessee, and they will be a contending team in the NFL for a long time because of it.


How will the Titans attack the Steelers defense

Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans
Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans use a simple offensive philosophy, and it won’t stray from it against this Steelers defense. Derek Henry is going to get a load of carries early in hopes of beating down the defensive front and pulling own the safeties. Once teams get caught cheating, Ryan Tannehill will start unloading the ball down the field to the likes of AJ Brown, Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith, and a plethora of other targets. The Steelers are going to need to build a quick early again to take Henry out of the game.


How will the Titans defend the Steelers offense

Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans
Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The Titans defense has struggled in recent weeks, however they’re still a dangerous unit. The strength of the Titans defense is their front four. Jefferey Simmons and Jadeveon Clowney are game breakers in the running game and have a knack of pushing offensive lineman into the lap of the quarterback. They need tighter coverage this week as to not let this game become another shoot out.


X-Factor

Tennessee Titans v Minnesota Vikings
Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

We all know how talented Derek Henry, AJ Brown, and Jonnu Smith are as offensive weapons. But it’s the returning Corey Davis that scares me a bit. If Davis can take advantage of his match ups he will be a deadly fourth option for Tannehill. Will the Steelers be able to limit the Titans offensive weapons? We will find out on Sunday.


Sunday, 1PM EDT. We will see how this all plays out.

NBA prospect Robert Woodard: 'When I'm on the court, I'm a different person. I'm relentless'

By | October 25, 2020

In just one year, 6-foot-7 wing Robert Woodard II went from shooting 27.3 percent from three to making 42.9 of his attempts from beyond the arc. The Mississippi State product credits that boost in production to his work ethic and told us that the accomplishment exemplifies how he can also continue to get better in the NBA.

Please note that this interview transcription was very minorly edited for clarity. 

How have you been using your time recently to prepare for the draft?

Robert Woodard II: Just training, all day, every day, mentally and physically, just doing the whole nine yards. It’s been a pretty good experience being at home for a long time. It has given me a lot of time with my family that I missed out on over the past few years. I’ve enjoyed it a lot.

Keep reading this article on HoopsHype - NBA.

Steelers fans finally believing in the team after dismantling the Browns

Philadelphia Eagles v Pittsburgh Steelers

Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers fan base can be fickle, but they are starting to believe after Week 6.

The Pittsburgh Steelers fan base can be a fickle bunch. Even when their team was 4-0, there was skepticism among the black and gold following. Many cited the Steelers not playing any teams with a winning record, some talked about the secondary while others just said the team hasn’t really dominated an opponent yet.

Well, after the 38-7 win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 6, the fan base is starting to believe in the Steelers.

Here at SB Nation we poll fans every week in our SB Nation “Reacts” polls, and there one of the questions is whether you have confidence in your team moving forward. As you can see, the confidence is starting to rise heading into Week 7.


If you want to know just how the fan confidence has changed since the end of the 2019 season, you can see the percentages below:

End of 2019: 59%
Pre NFL Free Agency: 72%
Post 2020 NFL Draft: 81%
Heading into Week 1: 90%
Heading into Week 2: 94%
Heading into Week 3: 87%
Heading into Week 4: 90%
Heading into Week 5: 83%
Heading into Week 6: 82%
Heading into Week 7: 97%

The Steelers are heading into Nissan Stadium this Sunday to play Tennessee, and needless to say, fans are excited to see these two undefeated teams go head-to-head.


Speaking of that Week 7 game, the 5-0 Steelers head to Nashville to play the 5-0 Titans. Who do the fans think will win this game?

Take a look…


What do you think about the team moving forward? Are you confident in their ability to continue to improve? Or have we seen the best of this Steelers team? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they play the Titans this Sunday in Week 7.

Distribution Map: Check out if you will get to see the Steelers vs. Titans game in Week 7

The Steelers are traveling to play the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. Will you get to see it?

If you were like me, before I decided to sign up for the DirecTV Sunday Ticket package every week I was wondering whether I’d be able to watch my beloved Steelers in the comfort of my own home, or if I’d have to go elsewhere to watch the game.

Before there were websites devoted to this, it meant a lengthy trip on the television guide screen to see which game was scheduled to air, but now it’s just a click away.

So, will you get to see the Steelers and the Titans go head-to-head in Week 7? Check out which games you’ll see in your local viewing area.

For those who want to know which game they’ll see, check the map below, courtesy of 506 Sports:

Week 7 CBS


RED: Steelers at Titans
GREEN: Browns at Bengals
BLUE: Bills at Jets

So, are you lucky enough to be able to watch the game live in your own home, or are you one of many who will have to find other means to view the game? Either way, today is the day to get pumped!!

HERE WE GO!!

Pre-Game Podcast: Steelers vs. the Titans, Week 7

Get ready for the Steelers’ home contest against Phily with pregame analysis from BTSC’s Bryan Anthony Davis and K.T. Smith

The last time the Steelers won the Super Bowl, the Titans were 10-0 before their first loss. With Pittsburgh and Tennessee now the last remaining teams in the AFC without a loss, memories of that year are flooding back. It’s the battle of the unbeatens and it is going to be a big one. The second-best running team in the league takes on the second-best stopping the rushing attack. Join Bryan Anthony Davis and K.T. Smith, as they set the scene for the Steelers crucial road visit to Nashville. The BTSC duo break down the like no one else does on the latest podcast, the Steelers Pre-Game Show.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • News and Notes
  • Steelers vs. Titans league rankings
  • Titans overview
  • Keys to a Steelers victory
  • Predictions

Be sure to check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE

Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

If you’re old-school and just want the audio, you can listen to it in the player below.

Why Tom Allen's two-point play decision in OT was three years in the making for Indiana's coach

USATSI

Tom Allen made the do-or-die decision midway through his team’s final possession. At that point, the Indiana coach’s determination to go for two in overtime against the No. 8 team in the country had actually been years in the making.

“One play to win it,” Allen said. “We’ve been close, and I’m sick and tired of being close.”

When quarterback Michael Penix Jr. stretched as far as he could to touch the pylon on a two-point conversion in overtime, Indiana not only pulled off the biggest win of the day by knocking off Penn State 36-35 in overtime, it washed away years of frustration.

Allen had been 6-9 in games decided by a touchdown or less since taking over as interim coach in the last game of the 2016 season. And despite coming off their best season in