According to the NYT statistical model the Titans are the probable winner tonight
The numbers for my game prediction model aren’t always going to be perfect, so what I like to do is find out where the model differs most from the general consensus and then dig deeper to find out why...
The Steelers have not played like the successful versions of the recent past. Largely because of key injuries, their defense has been mediocre and has not been able to generate turnovers. Pittsburgh has been unsuccessful running the ball and stopping the run. Their success so far this season has come from a solid passing attack and a low turnover rate on offense.
In total, their fundamental statistics make them look like a fairly average team. What has been holding the Steelers back is their penalty rate. They have a league-worst rate of 0.7 penalty yards per play, while the league average is 0.4 yards per play.
Team penalties are surprisingly consistent and correlate well with game outcomes in the N.F.L. After offensive passing efficiency, penalty rate is the second-most consistent efficiency stat. Pittsburgh’s exceptionally high rate is what drops them so low in the model’s team rankings
The Steelers are no sure thing on the road against anyone
The Titans are horrible, but they are at home and have played a brutal schedule so far (New England, San Diego, Detroit, Houston and Vikings) - if the Steelers were capable of losing to Okalnd they certainly can screw up this game
A loss tonight would be worse than losing to the Eagles since it is a conference game - so it is just as much a must win as this past Sunday's game
Offfense needs to step it up and not settle for field goals