TE Matt Spaeth - Pittsburgh Steelers
|6-7, 260||Born: 11-24-1983||College: Minnesota||Drafted: Round 3|
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Week 11: vs Tennessee Titans
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FBG says: Neutral matchup. Ben Roethlisberger appears back to his game-managing days similar to his early career numbers. He's averaging just 255.3 yards per game, his lowest mark since 2012, and a truly pitiful 1.38 touchdowns. And not all of it can be blamed on his (modest) drop in volume; he merely hasn't been very efficient in his age-35 season. Through 9 games, he's posting the lowest adjusted yardage per attempt of his career, as well as his lowest completion rate since 2008 and his second-worst interception rate since 2006. Roethlisberger still has the weapons: Antonio Brown remains a week-to-week megastud, and rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster looks outstanding, with 521 yards and 5 touchdowns across 43 targets. He's usurped Martavis Bryant by two or three noses, and he's making plays all over the field at just 20 years old. His future is blindingly bright, and his per-target present is thrilling; between those two starters, the Steelers should boast a consistently high-octane passing game. The problem here is, for the sake of streamlining, Roethlisberger. Without his dynamic deep ball clicking, he's simply not producing enough opportunity to view this unit quite the way we have in recent years. They remain explosive, just on a smaller scale than we're used to.
The Titans pass defense has rebranded itself majorly after a horrid start to 2017. They allowed 276.8 yards per game over the first 4 weeks, but just 208.2 since. Safety Kevin Byard's breakout season is the big catalyst for the turnaround, but another has been the play of rookie cornerback Adoree Jackson, one of the most targetable cover men in the league early on but a near-shutdown presence ever since. He helped erase T.Y. Hilton from the Colts game plan in Week 6, then performed fantastically on A.J. Green last Sunday. Jackson, like the rest of this secondary, remains a work in progress - there are a lot of missed tackles and enough blown coverages to exploit. But this is by no means the same attackable unit we saw to start the season. The flashes of dynamite coverage - as well as Byard's outstanding, ball-hawking play - are enough to make us think a bit before merely plugging their opponents into our lineups.
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