Maybe the most intriguing, if certainly not anticipated, battle of the this week’s NFL slate is the Thursday Night Football matchup of Tennessee Titans @ Pittsburgh Steelers. A.K.A, Kenny Pickett (probably) v.s. Will Levis: The Mayo King.
For those who are not ‘in the know’ regarding Levis’ infamous reputation, let this give you some context:
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) June 8, 2022
Which Quarterback Has The Upper Hand?
Will Levis, coming off of a 238 passing yard, 4 touchdown game v.s. what is a non-terrible Atlanta Falcons defense will leave Titans fans unrealistically confident, at least for the moment, that they have found their franchise quarterback to replace the steady, but perennially middle-of-the-pack and injury prone Ryan Tannehill.
And despite falling to the 2nd pick in the 2nd Round of the 2023 NFL Draft, many believed that Will Levis was a 1st round talent. This included Indianapolis Colts Owner, Jim Irsay, who stated publicly that the team would have taken Levis, were the 6’5” athletic behemoth, Anthony Richardson, still on the board. Let’s see if he can carry over his excellent play against a far sterner test, consisting of the T.J. Watt lead, Mike Tomlin coached, stout Steelers defense – routinely one of the best sides of the ball in all of football, year-in, year-out.
However, despite the proficiency of Watt, who has already compiled 8.5 sacks this season, the Steelers’ defense is not what they have been, ranking 30th in total defense, only better than the AFC West swiss-cheese defenses from the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos.
Kenny Pickett, on the other hand, has had an inconsistent season so far heading up to the midway point (i know, I don’t like it either). He has thrown for 1,330 yards, 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, all for a so-so passer rating of 80.6. Despite this, Pickett has made some clutch throws and shown in fits and spurts that he is a capable NFL quarterback.
Furthermore, many blame maligned Pittsburgh Offensive Coordinator, Matt Canada, for the Steelers’ offensive struggles and spluttering run game. Najee Harris, in particular, has struggled to continue to live up to his billing as a 1st round pick in 2021, especially being a running back. Yet, despite all this, the team is 4-3 heading into the second half of the season, in a strong but ‘any given Sunday’ esque NFC North Division. Let’s see what happens in the battle of these offensive “Giants” – although with Vegas putting the O/U Total for this game at 37, it will most likely be the defenses that determine the result of the battle.
If nothing else, Thursday night should be enlightening of these two franchises quarterback situations.
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