At 3-3 Steeler Nation seems to feel that the sky is falling following last Sunday’s 31-10 blowout loss to the Browns in Cleveland. They get an extra day off this week as they get set for the AFC South’s Houston Texans, a team with a stud defensive player in J.J. Watt and a couple solid offensive stars in Andre Johnson and Arian Foster.
Today we take a look at the keys for a Steelers win, as well as how we feel the game Monday night will wind up at Heinz Field.
1. Pressure Ryan Fitzpatrick – The Texans had done a nice job protecting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, that is until the Colts blitzed him frequently during their Thursday night matchup a week and a half ago, and they got to Fitzpatrick five times. The Steelers should take a lesson from Indy, and make sure they do whatever they can to get to the veteran QB, more so since the secondary has proven they can’t seem to cover when a QB has time to throw. It would be nice to see the Steelers have 4-6 sacks in this matchup.
2. Pound the Rock – The Texans are ranked 26th in the league in run defense, allowing 125.7 yards per game on the ground. Last week before things got out of control against the Browns, the run game had success with Le’Veon Bell, Legarrette Blount and Dri Archer all getting carries and having a decent amount of success rushing against Cleveland. This week they should duplicate that game plan, with Bell getting 20-25 carries and Blount and Archer each getting carries to give the team a change of pace. Plus running the ball will keep J.J. Watt off Ben Roethlisberger’s back.
3. Avoid Critical Mistakes – The Steelers have been their own worse enemy in their three losses, committing key mistakes in all 3 games that have cost them – from penalties to turnovers to simply missing blocks that have cost the club. Against the Texans, they have to limit those mistakes, and that includes staying focused for 60 minutes, not playing well for 57 minutes and then blowing it in the final 3 minutes like they did against the Buccaneers. Let the Texans be the team that commits the big mistakes down the stretch, like they did a week and a half ago against the Colts.
Prediction – The Texans have gotten off to slow starts as of late, and the Steelers have to take advantage of that and come out and try to build an early lead and then stay focused for four quarters. The team has to put last week behind them, and from the sounds of it, they feel that they can build off the loss with a good effort against a Texans team that is having its issues like the Steelers. This is a game of redemption, and look for a physical, solid effort from the black and gold that results in a key win as they get set for another big home game vs the Colts next Sunday at home. Steelers 24 Houston 14