September 9, 2009

Steelers, Titans set to open NFL season

The defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers meet the Tennessee Titans Thursday to kick off the NFL's 90th season.

It will be the first of 256 regular-season games, the last of which will be played Jan. 3, 2010. The 11-game playoff schedule will conclude with the Super Bowl, to be contested Feb. 7 in Miami.

Tennessee won its first 10 games in 2008 and defeated Pittsburgh four days before Christmas. The Steelers, however, avoided the Titans in the playoffs and wound up winning a record sixth Super Bowl with a 27-23 victory over surprising NFC champion Arizona.

Pittsburgh is one of only two teams, San Diego being the other, to have won a division title in each of the last two seasons. The Steelers have had problems with the Titans in recent years, however, having lost three of their last four meetings and eight of their last 11.

The season's opening weekend will continue with 13 games Sunday and two Monday night.

Among the Sunday games will be a trip by Detroit to New Orleans. The Lions have lost their last 17 games and two more setbacks to start this season would tie them for the second-longest losing streak in NFL history.

The all-time record for consecutive losses is 26, held by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.