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Three and Out: Texans-Steelers Predictions

The BRB staff gathers to predict the outcome of Houston’s visit to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jason Simmons recovers fumble Photo by Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

After two beatings where the Texans didn’t even compete, much less win, they go into Pittsburgh to face the Steelers, who have had the most success pressuring the QB in the young 2020 season. You already know where I’m going with this; the Texans have allowed the most QB pressures on offense. Couple this fact with the mountain of evidence that suggests Texans offensive line coach Mike Devlin is not very good at his job, and I don’t have much hope for a quick fix.

That said - in Deshaun We Trust. If the Texans are going to get that desperately-needed first win, it’s going to be because Deshaun overcomes all the limitations around him. Let’s see how the BRB staff predicts Sunday’s game...

Tim: Steelers 24, Texans 20.

I expect a better game from the good guys than what we’ve seen the previous two weeks, both because the Steelers aren’t as good as the Chiefs and Ravens, and because the Texans will look better as they get more reps in the scheme(s) for their new additions. But I still foresee a loss in Pittsburgh to drop Houston to 0-3, forcing them to replicate the magic they showed in 2018 in order to qualify for the 2020 NFL Playoffs.

Chris: Steelers 30, Texans 20.

I won’t believe the offensive line’s improvement until I see it. Not as long as Mike Devlin is the OL coach. Watson will be running for his life. Sure, the Texans will game-plan for him to get rid of the ball quickly, but that is a coaching fix, and again - I will not believe the Texans have a coaching advantage in any game against a quality opposing coach until I see it.

The Steelers have beat up on some patsies in the first two games, but even with their difficult schedule, the regression I’ve seen from the Texans - in my opinion - puts them at the top of the patsy category in the NFL right now. That is, until I see otherwise.

Matt Weston: Steelers 26, Texans 20.

Houston is due for a close game after the Chiefs and Ravens turned them into soup. The Steelers’ offense has been fine. They struggle running the ball right now, and Big Ben is still trying to figure his body out. It’s an offense that can score enough points for their defense. Pittsburgh has the best front seven in the league. They’re going to blitz, and their pass rush will careen drives into the abyss.

That being said, there are corner routes and deep inward breaking routes you can hit on them. You just have to pass block long enough for it to happen. More times than not, Houston won’t, but I do think they’ll be able to get 2-3 shots downfield to score some points.

It will probably come down to Watson having to pull off the miraculous; if he does pull it off, I could see Houston’s defense blowing it anyway. This should be a close black and purple game, but Houston doesn’t have the offensive structure in place or the secondary talent to stave off 0-3.

BfMFd: Steelers 38, Texans 19.

Don’t worry, homers, the Texans will still make the playoffs, and that’s all that matters, right?

The Texans will prove, again, that they cannot hang with the big boys of the AFC. BOB Lite Tim Kelly will try to establish the run against a tough Steelers run defense and, once again, will fail.

Ya see, dearest Texans fan, opposing defenses WANT us to run the ball. Imagine that!

The defense will hang for a while, but this will turn ugly, again.

Good Durga, I hate BOB.

RJ: Steelers 35, Texans 30.

0-3, here we come! I think the Steelers are clicking and the Texans are reeling. Similar to the Giants game in 2018, I am not sure yet if the Texans are actually the worse team, but I don’t think they’ll be able to prove they’re not. At least not yet.

I think the Texans will score more points than they have due to a weaker opposing secondary, but the Chiefs didn’t have world beaters out there, either. The front seven of the Steelers will continue to give Deshaun Watson and the offensive line issues. I think Houston’s defense will start off strong, but Ben Roethelisberger is the most veteran of the first three QBs they’ve faced (though the other two are more talented); he should adjust to Weaver’s exotic looks the quickest.

Mike: Steelers 37, Texans 16.

The most pressured offense versus the most pressuring defense, coupled with Houston’s complete lack of offensive cohesiveness, means they’re going to struggle mightily to get into scoring range and will only sniff the end zone in garbage time.

Conversely, J.J. Watt can’t stop Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers passing attack all on his own, so odds are Mike Tomlin will have this game out of reach well before halftime.

Once again, we’ll get a front row seat to a Super Bowl coach showing what it takes to win championships at the expense of the Houston Texans. Maybe Cal McNair can lure Tony Dungy out of retirement before Week 4.

Capt Ron: Steelers 42, Texans 13.

Just when it might be a good week for the typically slow-starting Texans to try and reverse the course of the season, I think they continue to flail aimlessly on offense due to poor play design and play calling, combined with devastating turnovers. The defense keeps the game close early, but eventually the wheels come off and they get run off the field and sent packing back to Houston in shame.

Not to worry. I’m sure an 0-3 start for the Texans won’t get Gary Kubiak fired up to roll into Houston with the Vikings blazing a hole right into Cal McNair’s heart the following week. Nah, no way.

Kenneth L: Steelers 20, Texans 13.

Unlike everyone on here, I think this game will be a low scoring slugfest where the offenses stall and the defenses really control the pace of a slow game. I have seen enough from this Steelers defense to know that they are a top tier unit and will be a force to deal with. I would expect the Texans to try and start face-paced and then implement the running game as a supplement.

Chase Claypool is one of my favorite receivers this rookie class. He is a mirror image of Will Fuller and fits into Pittsburgh’s offense well. Watch out for him to sneak by our safeties early on in the game.

l4blitzer: Steelers 30, Texans 19.

When the schedule came out, we figured that the Texans’ first two games were the roughest that any team could draw. Then Game 3 saw the team have to deal with the Steelers, a team that last season just missed the playoffs, mainly due to the lack of a quarterback. With Roethlisberger back in the fold, Pittsburgh has seemingly solved that problem. Couple that with their formidable defense, which is playing up to the usual Pittsburgh standards of a nightmare front seven that devours all in their path, and they have legitimate postseason aspirations. When they match up with Baltimore this season, those games will once again be the most violent in the NFL. However, before the Steelers get there, they get the Texans.

This should be an interesting test for both teams. For the Texans, this is arguably the “easiest” game they have faced on the schedule. For Pittsburgh, the Texans are arguably the best team they have faced to date. The Watt vs. Watt(s) subplot is interesting enough, and I imagine that this could turn into a game of which Watt wreaks the most havoc. However, the biggest questions are 1) how will the Texans offensive line respond to perhaps a greater challenge then it faced with KC or Baltimore and 2) what is the mind-set of the Texans? The body language of Watson and BO’B at the end of the Baltimore game was not great. Watt was frustrated and calling out teammates. Also, the Texans have lost by an average of 15.5 points to start this season, whereas in 2018 (the last 0-2 start), it was only by an average of 5.0. While this may not be a “must-win,” the team has to at least avoid the soul-crushing beatdowns they’ve taken the past two weeks.

Oddly enough, I felt more confident of a Texans upset against Baltimore than I do about the Texans winning at Pittsburgh, even if there will be nary a Terrible Towel in the stands. Not that the Texans couldn’t win this one. If they somehow channel their anger from last week and the O-line can actually mitigate a blitz or three, the Texans could leave with a single score win. Still, I see this game playing out with the Texans throwing all sorts of blitzes and shifts to try to throw the Steelers off-balance, whereas the Steelers spend most of the game in the Texans’ backfield. The Texans try to employ the bend-but-don’t-break defense, but the Steelers manage to get ahead, and despite the combined heroics of Watson and Watt, the Steelers end up with a double-digit victory.

Carlos: Texans 23, Steelers 20.

WAIT, hold your tomatoes! If I’m being true to myself, the chances of pulling off this upset took a very “Black Monday”-esque plunge after seeing the performance put on display by the Texans’ offense through the first two weeks of the season. However, I’m sticking to my initial prediction of an upset occurring here.

The ideal situation is that the Texans come out of the gate hot. The offense begins to click, the offensive line picks up incoming blitzes, and Deshaun does Deshaun things. Meanwhile, the defense manages to successfully put pressure on Big Ben, and the secondary can maintain coverage long enough to make the old, rotten oak tree hold the ball. This is all wishful thinking that has no roots in fact or anything that we’ve actually seen up to this point of the 2020 season.

Realistically speaking, T.J. Watt is going to put on a pass rushing clinic, Jacob Martin will still only see the field for 10 plays while Whitney Mercilus will run wide-looping rushes that provide no real pressure all afternoon. J.J. Watt will do his absolute best to assert his dominance amongst his brethren but will be humbled when Derek Watt runs right by him for a 2-yard touchdown.

Most of this explanation really paints the picture of a rather convincing loss. Regardless, I’m sticking to my guns and will gladly take the flogging for likely being the only person to predict a win here. Don’t worry, the fan inside of me is just taking his last gasps before the reality of this team drowns him for the remainder of the season.

Joe Critz: Texans 30, Steelers 24.

I’m calling an upset, for sure. Pittsburgh looks great, their defense looks great, and they should wipe the floor with a Texans team that is still trying to find itself. But if being a lifelong Steelers fan has taught me anything, they’re bound to drop a game that they have no business losing, harming their playoff chances in the process. They just don’t show up some weeks, I don’t know what it is. For the past several years, the Steelers have played to the level of their competition, much to the dismay of my entire family.

They had no business making that Broncos game close last week, but because they’re the Steelers, they did. I’m predicting something very similar this week, but this time around, Pittsburgh won’t get so lucky. I’m not sure if it’ll be game-sealing interception, or a magical play by Deshaun Watson, or a BS roughing the passer call when Watson gets clotheslined by T.J. Watt for the tenth time in a row that flips the momentum at the end, but something will happen. Mark my words. My gut is telling me Pittsburgh’s weirdness from that Denver game is going to continue in this game, and Houston will take advantage of it.

There you have it. Not a lot of confidence in the good guys these days, and for good reason.

Use the comment section below to predict Sunday’s game, and above all else - enjoy your football Sunday. We only get 16 Texans games a year!