Titans vs Steelers Week 15 Picks and Predictions: Pittsburgh Wills Itself to Cover

Pittsburgh has been in decline this season, but it's staying competitive against better teams than Tennessee has beaten up on to pad its record. Find out why the Terrible Towels might be waving with our Titans vs Steelers picks for Week 15.

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2021 7:19 PM ET Read Time: 5 min
Najee Harris Pittsburgh Steelers NFL
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The 9-4 Titans are tied for the best record in the AFC but they’ve got the Colts hot on their heels in the division. The Steelers are two wins behind the Ravens in a tight AFC North and need to win if they have any hopes of seeing the playoffs.

Both teams absolutely need a W, so make sure to read our NFL picks and predictions for the Tennessee Titans vs. Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, December 19 to see how it will play out.

Titans vs Steelers odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The total opened at 41.5 and has remained the same. We have seen some movement on the spread though, with the Titans going from -2.5 to 1.5-point favorites.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Titans vs Steelers predictions

Predictions made on 12/16/2021 at 11:05 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Titans vs Steelers game info

Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Date: Sunday, December 19, 2021
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

Titans at Steelers betting preview


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Key injuries

Titans: David Long LB (Out), Janoris Jenkins CB (Out), Rodger Saffold G (Out), Dez Fitzpatrick WR (Out), AJ Brown WR (Out), Chris Jackson DB (Out), Bud Dupree LB (Out), Derrick Henry RB (Out), Caleb Farley DB (Out).
Steelers: Joe Haden CB (Questionable), Eric Ebron TE (Out), Juju Smith-Schuster WR (Out), Stpehon Tuitt DE (Out).

Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Steelers are 4-1 ATS in their past five against teams in the AFC. Find more NFL betting trends for Titans vs. Steelers.

Titans vs Steelers picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

Heading into Week 15, there’s no team in the AFC with more wins that the Tennessee Titans. Their 9-4 record is tied with the Patriots and Chiefs heading into Week 15 and it still feels like that’s flattering them. Let’s be brutally honest, this team isn’t the same without Derrick Henry and he’s been out of the lineup for a good few weeks. They’ve been helped hugely by playing in the AFC South and getting to face the Jaguars and Texans four times. 

On Sunday, they face the Pittsburgh Steelers, who sit on 6-6 and will need to win this game to maintain any hope in reaching the playoffs. For the Steelers it’s been a very tough year, compounded by having to face the Ravens, Browns and Bengals twice. Now we see them welcome the Titans to Heinz Field in a must-win game, but can they?

It really says a lot about Mike Tomlin that the Steelers have been competitive over the past few years — he’s a brilliant coach and consistently helps this team overachieve. The 2021 Steelers aren’t like the great teams he’s had previously. The offensive line is poor and arguably the worst that he’s presided over during his tenure, they’ve been hit repeatedly by serious injuries to their best players, and Ben Roethlisberger has found out that time catches up with everyone, except for Tom Brady. 

Big Ben in particular has been a problem for this team. He’s a future Hall-of-Famer and Tomlin must have hoped they’d be able to lean on him for one more year, even with his physical tools declining, but sadly he’s too far gone to take this team to the Super Bowl. His once-powerful arm doesn’t look anywhere near as strong and he doesn’t offer much beyond leadership and game management at this point. Sadly, for the Steelers, that’s a lot more than the rest of their QB room, with Mason Rudolph a dreadful backup. 

Despite that, I’m backing them to cover, if not win outright, against the Titans. This Titans team is well-coached and has an identity, but, ultimately, it’s just missing too many of its offensive talents. AJ Brown hasn’t had a brilliant year, but he is sorely missed, and Derrick Henry is clearly an absolutely massive loss. Besides quarterbacks, there isn’t a player in the league who defines his team’s identity more than Henry. D’Onta Foreman, the Henry-light, has done a reasonable job in his absence but he’s not a game-breaker like Henry was.

Neither team ranks inside the Top 10 in either offensive or defensive DVOA, and with their injuries, it’s hard to look at this Titans team and think that they’re much better than the Steelers. In the past three games, they’ve only had one win against the dreadful Jaguars, and in that time, they’ve been taken apart by the Patriots and a poor Texans team. Sure, the Steelers have only won one game in that time too, but that was against the Ravens, and their losses came against the Vikings and Bengals, both good football teams. When the Steelers have their backs against the wall, in a packed-out Heinz Field, they’ll find a way to cover.

Prediction: Steelers +1.5 (-110)

The Over is 5-1 in the Titans’ last six road games when they’ve come in as favorites. It’s also 4-1 in the Steelers past give games on grass. Everything points toward this game going Over 41.5 total points.

That total also sits 41.5 points, which seems very low. Over the past four games, the Steelers have given up 137 points, an average of 34.25 points per game. Before that, they even allowed the Detroit Lions, the worst team in the NFL, to put up 16 points on them. 

Losing Derrick Henry might have cost the Titans their identity, but in the five games since Henry hit the IR, they’ve still managed to put up 19.4 points per game and you’d imagine they should be able to get two or three scores at least against Steelers, who haven’t hit the expectations set for their defense this year. Back the Over, it makes sense.

Prediction: Over 41.5 Total Points (-110)

Only one player in the NFL has more games with 10+ targets than Diontae Johnson, and that’s the Rams’ Cooper Kupp. Johnson hasn’t exploded in terms of touchdowns this season, only hauling in six, but he’s become a key part of the Steelers offense. 

He doesn’t always manage to make the catches — last week, for example, he only managed five of his 10 targets — but he’s always being targeted. 130 targets in 120 games and he’s had at least double-digit targets every game since Week Nine.

Johnson is a target monster, and if the Steelers are to have any chance of getting anything out of this game against the Titans, they’ll need to lean on him Sunday.

Pick: Diontae Johnson Over 6.5 Receptions (-135 at DraftKings)

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