Sharp Houston Texans to Host Injured Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh’s recent win against the Indianapolis Colts was definitely a mixed blessing. No NFL team can shrug off a win, since every victory counts towards making the playoffs, home field advantage and so forth. However, the amount of injuries the Steelers sustained in their victory over the Colts and the general performance they displayed has illustrated some very troubling issues for the Pittsburgh squad as they prepare for a very hungry up and coming Houston Texans team at home.
The Steelers are maintaining the standard comment that they don’t care about appearances, they only want the win. “We don’t care how it looks,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “We just want to get out of stadiums with wins, particularly road stadiums and AFC ones.” Fair enough, but the Steelers looked very disorganized and out of sync in their win against a grossly undermanned Colts team. The Colts were forced to go to their third string quarterback Curtis Painter for much of the game who realistically looked happiest at just getting off of the field after the game. Pittsburgh’s red zone offence was brutal, going 0-2 on potentially scoring drives and gave up two fumbles and one thrown interception. Also worthy of note is that the Steelers were forced to rely on scoring in bunches, in the first and fourth quarters. Some might say that at least the Steelers scored when opportunities presented themselves, however it is of concern that their offence really didn’t generate to potential on a consistent basis. Gains the Steelers made were lost through the most cardinal of football sins-fumbles and interceptions.
Although the Steeler’s defence was probably better than their offence and generated one of their two touchdowns, their present injuries going into Sunday’s game with the Houston Texans makes one question the overall attack. Of course top NFL teams have defenses that not only stop the opposition but turn those stops into positive scores, but how realistic is it to consistently depend on it as a basis for your offense? The Pittsburgh Steelers have a host of questionable players for Sunday due to injuries which makes one suspect that their opportunistic defence will be somewhat limited in helping their offense score.
While the Houston Texans had their own issues against the New Orleans Saints in their last matchup, at least Texans backers can state their team played down to the wire. The Saints are one of the top ranked teams in the league and came into the matchup reasonably healthy. The Texans looked fairly proficient on defence, at least limiting the Saints in their ability to score-even though they are now facing a big dose of criticism. Let’s be realistic on this point, quarterback Drew Brees and his offense are one of the elite in the league and to stop them cold is a tall if virtually impossible task. The Texans major problem was not being able to generate quite as much offense as the Saints which can be largely attributed to the absence of Arian Foster from the lineup. Ben Tate and James Casey did well with the running game for the Texans but presuming Foster can be back close to full health for the home matchup versus Pittsburgh he should add an explosive element to the Houston running game. The Texans got their share of red zone opportunities but were limited in their touchdown success, mostly attributable to Foster being out of the lineup. Increase the Texans red zone offense by even a relatively slight margin and you have a different result against the Saints.
All things considered I think we have a Steelers team that is on pretty shaky ground both offensively and defensively-especially with their injury problems. The Texans look have looked extremely hungry in every game this year and are coming off a game against the Saints they may have won with the addition of their star running back.
Pittsburgh Steelers +4.5 (-110)
Houston Texans -4.5 (-110)
Take the Houston Texans to cover the four point spread at home over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Play: Houston Texans -4.5
Written by Greg Smith