The week 16 Pittsburgh Steelers head to Texas this week for a Christmas matchup with the Houston Texans. The Steelers sole purpose this week is to clinch a first round bye in the postseason and get out healthy. The Texans have fallen on hard times this season and are looking to make things difficult for the Steelers. The Steelers are looking to rebound after a disappointing loss last Sunday. Steelers rookie T.J. Watt and his brother, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, were looking forward to this game since last May’s draft. Unfortunately, the older Watt will be sitting this one out due to a season ending injury, and his team has nothing to play for. Week 16 Pittsburgh Steelers keys to victory takes a look at what must be accomplished to leave Houston with a win.
Week 16 Pittsburgh Steelers Keys To Victory
The Steelers have played the Texans five times since Houston re-joined the NFL In 2002. They have two wins at home and one on the road. The last meeting between these two teams was in October of 2014, which the Steelers prevailed 30-23. The Steelers will clinch a first round bye in the playoffs with a win, which is a given on paper. In reality, the Texans don’t want anyone clinching anything against them and won’t roll over for anyone. Games like this have given the Steelers problems in the past, but they have something to play for. In light of last week’s frustrating loss they will be focused and won’t take the Texans for granted. With that in mind, here are the week 16 Pittsburgh Steelers keys to victory.
Shut Down The Texans Running Game
The Texans are ranked 10th and 15th respectively when it comes to rushing attempts and yards. Their leading rusher, Lamar Miller, averaging over four yards per carry for his career, is having a down year. He’s got the speed and cut back ability to go the distance at any time. Miller also has the power to pick up the tough yards as well. With backup D’Onta Foreman on the injured reserve, the Steelers could see Alfred Blue in short yardage and goal line situations. Blue is a north-south runner who hits the hole hard, and has the size to create his own running lanes. Stephon Tuitt and Cameron Heyward need to funnel everything they can inside and Let Javon Hargrave and Vince Williams eat.
Contain DeAndre Hopkins
The best active wide receiver in the NFL is 11 receptions behind Antonio Brown for the league lead. DeAndre Hopkins is the Texans most explosive weapon and T.J. Yates plans to use him early and often. The good news for the Steelers is that cornerback Joe Haden returns this week to stabilize the secondary and help keep Hopkins in check.
Haden and Burns are one of the league’s best tandems and have already shut down some of the games best receivers. They need to keep Hopkins in front of them in front of them, and the emergence of Cameron Sutton can help make that easier. Taking away Yates’s best weapon will cripple any chance of the Texans hanging around in this game. It might be the most step towards the Steelers clinching that coveted first bye in the postseason.
Attack of The Killer B’s
The Killer B’s are still a potent group even without Brown on the field. Ben Roethlisberger, playing like an elite quarterback again, Le’Veon Bell, and Martavis Bryant stepped up with big plays last week. Bryant, especially, had his best game since returning from suspension, with two spectacular receptions. One was a spectacular one-hand touchdown catch, and the other was an all out effort on a 39 yard diving grab. These guys are virtually impossible to stop when they get rolling, so they need to get off to a quick start. Brown gave Steeler Nation the “Immaculate Extension” last Christmas, so it’s Bryant’s turn on Monday.
Win The Battles in The Trenches
The week 16 Pittsburgh Steelers are blessed to have one of the best offensive and defensive lines in the NFL. The key to this game, as with all of them, is to win the battles up front. The offensive line must neutralize Jadeveon Clowney as much as possible, while the defensive line must break down Texans offensive tackles Chris Clark and Breno Giacomini. The return of Marcus Gilbert only strengthens a line that played solid in his absence. Hopefully Ramon Foster, who was cleared to practice on Friday, will be able to play as well.
Last Word on The Week 16 Pittsburgh Steelers
The week 16 Pittsburgh Steelers, for the second straight year, have a big game on Christmas Day. They clinched the division last Christmas, and hope to clinch a first round bye this year. The Steelers won’t be playing down to the level of the Texans, they will be playing with a purpose. Look for the Steelers to jump ahead quickly and put the Texans away early. Pittsburgh 37 – Texans 16.