Steelers vs. Titans: Writers' picks and predictions for a brutal Week 9 AFC fight

Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers
Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers / Lauren Leigh Bacho/GettyImages
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It’s a short week for the black and gold as they head into week nine of competition. They will play at home and under the night sky on Thursday night as they host the Tennessee Titans. Their foes this week have arrived at the realization that their season seems to be a lost cause. It has caused them to make some moves before the league's trade deadline.

The Steelers are doing their best to try and act like adults when they should be at the kids' table. They have routinely disappointed on offense and the defense is a turnover drought away from the media finally realizing that they are just as much of the problem too. This game should be a win for Pittsburgh if they are actual playoff contenders, but it won't be easy.

Things to pay close attention to as the Steelers host the Titans

Kenny Pickett's health will be a challenge this week for the Steelers, but he said that he will be good to go on Thursday. He has an injury to his ribs, but it was said by Mike Tomlin that there were no breaks. One would have to imagine that Pickett will wear some extra padding to his rib area. He is a tough quarterback, and that was one of his positives coming out of college.

Fans of Pittsburgh will appreciate that, but none will stop from criticizing him if he plays badly again. Last week was a travesty all over the field for the Steelers against the Jaguars. They need to find a way to run the ball and open up play action passes to expand the field. Their offensive line needs to rebound from last week's performance.

This defense is just not good for Pittsburgh. Other than T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, they rely only on splash plays to keep them in games. Their secondary is terrible and now they are without Minkah Fitzpatrick. Their defensive line cannot stop the run and they will be going up against one of the best running backs of the past decade or so in the NFL.