The Pittsburgh Steelers face the Houston Texans on Christmas Day at 4:30 PM. The Steelers (11-3) are coming off a 27-24 loss to the New England Patriots that featured a controversial call on a Jesse James catch in the 4th quarter. The Steelers now have the 2nd best record in the AFC while the Texans (4-10) lost 45-7 to the Jaguars and it seems their season is lost. Will the Steelers face a letdown after such a big game? Let’s look at the matchups:
Texans offense vs. Steelers defense
The Steelers held their own against the Patriots, pressuring Tom Brady and even causing an interception. But Tom Brady did what Tom Brady does and engineered a game winning drive in the last 2 minutes. The Steelers get a huge boost getting cornerback Joe Haden from a broken leg. The secondary hasn’t been the same without him.
The Texans season was lost when Deshaun Watson was lost for the season. They’ve lost 4 in a row and have lost the last 3 by at least 10 points. Tom Savage and TJ Yates have proven to be less than adequate at quarterback. Expect the Steelers defense to stack against the run to make Yates beat them in the air. The Texans have a great pair of wide receivers in DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller so the Steelers will need to be careful.
Steelers offense vs. Texans defense
If it wasn’t bad enough losing to the Patriots, the Steelers lost the best wide receiver in football and maybe the league MVP in Antonio Brown to a leg contusion. They hope to get Brown back for the playoffs. What do the Steelers do now at wide receiver? Luckily wide receiver is their deepest position and Martavis Bryant can step into Brown’s role. Bryant has been a disappointment all season but did have a good game against the Patriots. JuJu Smith-Schuster’s role won’t change and he’s had a terrific year. Eli Rogers hasn’t played much this season and should see more snaps. The Texans are 27th against the pass and have suffered many injuries.
Could this be a letdown game after such a huge game last week? Could this be a case of the Steelers playing down and struggling against an inferior opponent on the road? No and no. The Steelers still want one of the top 2 seeds in the AFC and the Jacksonville Jaguars are right behind them. The Steelers still have a lot to play for so there will not be a letdown.
Steelers 26, Texans 15