HOUSTON — The Pittsburgh Steelers are road favorites for the first time this season against the Houston Texans, but does that mean they’re in for easy win in H-Town, or will they have to sweat out yet another close victory?
KEY TO VICTORY: Don’t Screw It Up
For the first time this season, the Steelers have an overwhelming talent advantage over their opponent. They should feel good about lining up and beating the Texans on a down-in, down-out basis.
So they just need to not screw it up. That means minimizing tunrovers and keeping things like penalties and mental mistakes to a minimum. Special teams are also a place where a lesser team can steal a game
OVERLOOKED MATCHUP: Tank Dell vs. Steelers Slot Defenders
The Steelers faced a dynamic slot threat in Week 1, when they had to deal with San Francisco 49ers’ do-everything man Deebo Samuel.
Since they, they haven’t been significantly challenged the last two wees. That will change in Houston, as dynamic rookie Tank Dell has the shiftiness to make the Steelers pay for playing extra linebackers.
The Texans will run more four-wide receiver sets than the Steelers have seen all season. Will they be able to stop the run when Houston goes spread? Otherwise, we may see the dreaded linebacker-on-slot receiver matchup.
BOLD PREDICTION: Highsmith Breaks Out
Alex Highsmith hasn’t been far behind T.J. Watt in terms of putting pressure on the quarterback this season. Highsmith has 4.5 compared to six for Watt through three games.
But Watt has had the advantage of a pair of first-time starters out of his first three opponents. Highsmith will get the friendly matchup this week, and he’ll take advantage, creating more than one splash defensive play.
Steelers 27, Texans 13
Last week: Steelers 24-10 (W)
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