Christmas Day – Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Texans
Christmas Day gives us another game between two polar opposites. We’ll have the explosive Pittsburgh offense set to do battle with that terrific Texan defense. I hope you’re not too tired from Christmas dinner to watch this one, because it should be one of the best matchups of the year. Houston will let us know whether they’re a contender or a pretender with their performance against Big Ben and company.
Keys to the Game
Pittsburgh has to protect Roethlisberger if they want to win on the road in Houston. He’s not the man of steel he used to be and those Texans pass rushers will punish him every chance they get. If they can stave off the pass rush, there should be passing lanes for Big Ben to find Antonio Brown and let him go to work on the secondary. If you had to pick a weak spot on the Houston defense, you’d have to go with the secondary. The key will be keeping Roethlisberger upright, though, because he won’t be very effective from his back or on the sideline — and we know how this story goes with Landry Jones calling the shots.
The Texans need to come out and play their game from the first snap. There will be no time to feel out the Steeler offense — they’ll make you pay immediately. Houston has to be ready to go right from the coin toss to make sure that Pittsburgh doesn’t jump out to an early lead. Even with Nuk Hopkins, Houston doesn’t have the offensive firepower to stage a comeback against Pittsburgh. They’ve got to be in control from beginning and keep this one close by harassing Big Ben early and often. He’s prone to making mistakes when he’s under pressure these days and a turnover or two will seal it for the Texans.