Week after week, selected NFL encounters are shown live online. Before the Tennessee Titans play against the Seahawks in Seattle at 10:25 p.m., the Pittsburgh Steelers will meet the Las Vegas Raiders at home from 7 p.m. Three of the four teams reached the playoffs last year. All of them have the big goal postseason this year, but want to improve this time after their first round in the preseason. Read our NFL week 2 previews and predictions!
While the Titans really messed up their start to the season and want to quickly turn things around in week 2, the Seahawks, Steelers and Raiders each landed respectable successes against competitors for the playoffs. The stars of the teams will be challenged again in important key matchups.
Las Vegas Raiders @ Pittsburgh Steelers
- 7 p.m. on September 19, 2021
- Heinz Field
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Bills 23-16 as underdogs in Buffalo in Week 1. This surprise success was mainly due to the defense. Now it’s up to the Las Vegas Raiders, who allowed 406 total yards in the Monday Night Football Game on matchday one. The offense should finally get rolling. The spectators can look forward to an open exchange of blows at this AFC showdown.
It was impressive how steadfast the raiders were in the previous week. Early on they ran after a 14 point deficit against the Baltimore Ravens and quarterback Derek Carr didn’t look like he could lead his team to winning ways in the first half. Still, it went into overtime with 27-27 and ultimately Carr led the Raiders to victory with a deep pass over 31 yards just before the end zone to Zay Jones, who covered the final five yards for the touchdown himself.
Against the Steelers, this special mentality will be in demand again. Although they were rarely able to stop the Ravens, under their new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley they showed an improvement over the game by acting more explosively in Pass Rush and defending more flexibly than last year. Defensive end Maxx Crosby is primarily responsible for putting pressure on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He landed two sacks despite the later injury-related absence of Yannick Ngakoue and will challenge the inexperienced offensive line with Joe Haeg and Chukwuma Okorafor. If neither Ngakoue nor Carl Nassib is there, it will be more difficult for Crosby, but not impossible. For the Raiders, powerful pressure on the line of scrimmage is essential if they want to stop Pittsburgh’s attack.
If the ball changes, the Steelers Defense is clearly the better line of defense. Pittsburgh already proved last week that they have by no means lost their top form from last year. What distinguishes them above all else is their variable style of play. Since they are expecting a completely different attack from Las Vegas than that of the Bills, this virtue is immediately put to the test.
Which Pittsburgh Steeler will stop Darren Waller?
Raiders tight end Darren Waller caught ten passes for 105 yards and a touchdown the week before. He is the key player in Head Coach Jon Gruden’s offense. Shutting him down makes things a lot easier for Pittsburgh on Sunday.
The Steelers are not going to take Waller into clear one-on-one cover. It will not be judged by one defender, but by several. Your defense has different playmakers who can occupy different positions. Even against the Bills, Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick played much more often in the nickel position or in the box as a tackler. Linebacker Devin Bush can also take cover from athletic matchups like Waller. The fact that Raiders quarterback Carr doesn’t know who is responsible for Waller will potentially make his game error-prone, as much of the playmaker’s point of view only comes up to after the snap. Coupled with the dominant Pass Rush from TJ Watt and colleagues, Carr can find himself in a nightmare.
Pittsburgh is therefore the favorite in the game. The Raiders are only given outsider opportunities away from home. In the first home game with spectators since the pandemic, the Heinz Field will be an additional factor. The Steelers have fewer injuries than Las Vegas.
Tennessee Titans @ Seattle Seahawks
- 10:25 p.m. on September 19, 2021
- Lumen Field
- Seattle, Washington
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson played extremely effectively at the start of the season. 18 of his 23 passes found their destination for 254 yards and four touchdowns. For the first home game at Lumen Field, he wants to continue his MVP campaign and get the second win in the second game. Not an easy task against the Tennessee Titans.
The Titans have to get their problems in the offensive line under control first. Offensive tackle Taylor Lewan has so far been a shadow of himself and first critics argue that after his last cruciate ligament rupture, he was not only in a form of low form, but even reached the end of his career. At least he and his teammates allowed the Arizona Cardinals six sacks in the previous week. Linebacker Chandler Jones in particular dominated the line in the game at will.
There is now the threat of the next slap for the tough guys on the line of scrimmage. Seattle’s defensive line was considered by many to be undervalued in the run-up to the season and already showed her true skills against the Indianapolis Colts with versatile lightning and constant pressure from different positions. If Tennessee’s quarterback Ryan Tannehill again gets too little time in the pocket, it will be a long day for his offense.
Will Seattle’s attack keep your foot on the gas this time?
Average of 11 yards per pass attempt. Three receivers achieved at least one big play over 20 yards. Run and attempts to pass were roughly in balance. The résumé at the start of the season in the interplay between Russell Wilson and his new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron is consistently positive.
However, you should not take your foot off the gas against the Titans. In the last game, the defense even allowed five different pass recipients to catches over 20 yards. There is therefore no reason for Seattle to revert to old ways of acting against Tennessee of all places. Wilson should fire another spectacle with his wideouts Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, as well as tight end Will Dissly.
The higher pressure is clearly on the part of the Tennessee Titans. After a desperate performance at the start of the season in attack and defense, the switch must now be thrown. Head Coach Mike Vrabel’s team has always succeeded in this over the past two years. A total of six defeats with a difference of more than 10 points was always followed by a victory. To do this, they not only have to find a way to bring more stability and effectiveness to the offense, but also to ensure that fewer big plays on the defensive are allowed. Many neutral observers consider it impossible that they will succeed in both after a week, which is why Seattle should start the season 2-0.