The Tennessee Titans kick off the 2013 regular season about 90 minutes from now at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh against the Steelers. Finally. First, the inactives.
DE Keyunta Dawson, DE Lavar Edwards, LB Zaviar Gooden, WR Justin Hunter, WR Michael Preston, C Brian Schwenke, OT Byron Stingily
RB Le'Veon Bell, CB Antwon Blake, NT Hebron Fangupo, QB Landry Jones, TE Heath Miller, C/G Cody Wallace, ILB Vince Williams
Most weeks, I'll have a Q&A with somebody who follows the opposing team and an Enemy Intelligence post previewing what I think of the opponent. Obviously, none of that this week. As I wrote before last year's season opener, Enemy Intelligence is least useful before the first game of the season, as we do not yet have an idea what sort of changes, if any, the opponent made in the offseason.
This is a smaller concern against the Steelers than it is against other teams. The Steelers, after all have a blueprint that's been largely similar for probably at least Ben Roethlisberger's second season of 2005. Minus the effect of some personnel changes, what I wrote in last year's EI before the Week 6 game is still mostly true. Rashard Mendenhall is gone, but new addition Le'Veon Bell is out and the backs that are are unimpressive. Ben is still Ben. Troy Polamalu is active. Without Keenan Lewis, i don't like their depth at corner as much, but the Titans are unlikely to be the team that tests that. Mike Wallace is gone, but rookie Markus Wheaton provides a similar sort of vertical element. If the Steelers come out throwing the same way they did in the game in Pittsburgh two years ago, I think they could put up a lot of points. Zone blitzes will be a thing, which means a big test for Jake Locker and the rebuilt interior of the offensive line.
At the end of each Enemy Intelligence post, I typically note the line and what I think of it, so I'll do the same here. The line seems to be between 6 and 7. I'm a touch down on the Steelers this year, but that is mostly because of long-run health and depth issues; with guys like Roethlisberger and Polamalu playing today, that is not a concern. I think 6, where the line may have moved after opening at 6.5/7, is pretty much right for a Week 1 matchup with the standard amount of uncertainty.
Feel free to leave your comments here during today's game. I'll be chiming in mostly on Twitter, so feel free to follow and yap at me there. Recap after the game, more on what happened during the week.