Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers
Date and Time: Monday, 10/20/14 at 8:35m on ESPN
Game Line: Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5 (WagerWeb)
Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers Monday Night NFL Football Analysis: The Steelers will likely need a better performance from their star quarterback as they try to send the Texans to a third straight loss in a Monday night matchup of .500 teams. Pittsburgh has alternated wins and losses through its first six games, and surely will be looking to maintain that trend after falling 31-10 at Cleveland last weekend. Despite failing to string any wins together and occupying the AFC North cellar, the Steelers aren’t overly concerned and a three-game homestand could be one reason why. They’ve won six of eight games at Heinz Field, but lost 27-24 to Tampa Bay in the most recent in Week 4. That calm demeanor has defined Roethlisberger’s career, and that attitude should help as he tries to bounce back from perhaps his worst performance of the season. He had a season low 64.4 passer rating, completed half of his 42 passes for 228 yards and his interception led to a Cleveland touchdown. Roethlisberger had a 112.3 rating and threw for six TDs over the previous three games. Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh offense will have to deal with J.J. Watt, Houston’s star defensive end who leads the NFL with 20 hits on quarterbacks his season and has four of his team’s 10 sacks. That unit could become a bit more formidable with the potential return of rookie linebacker Jadeveon Clowney who has been out since Week 1 after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. There’s a 50-50 chance the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft plays Monday, Coach Bill O’Brien said Friday. Another slow start proved too much to overcome for the Texans, who totaled two yards of offense and fell behind Indianapolis 24-0 after one quarter last Thursday en route to a 33-28 loss. That was the fifth time this season Houston has been shut out in the first quarter, including four straight games with the offense averaging 40.5 yards. That won’t be easy to improve against the Steelers, who allow 44.7 yards per game in the first quarter. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been one of the main culprits in those slow starts, ranking last in the AFC with a 58.9 passer rating in the first quarter. That number drops to 21.8 over the past four games after he missed on all four of his pass attempts last week. Houston’s defense certainly isn’t without blame, ranking 27th in the league in offensive yards allowed with 397.2. The Texans have surrendered 694 total passing yards and five touchdowns in back-to-back losses.
Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers Free NFL Picks: Pittsburgh -3.5 and under 44.5
Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers Game Prediction: 23-17 Steelers
What to expect in this Week 7 NFL Football match up: This is a weird match up of two teams that have been very good over the last decade, both having bad seasons last year and both trying to climb back to relevance this season. The Pittsburgh run game is going to get going for the first time in a few weeks. LeVeon Bell will find the endzone for the first time in five weeks and Houston doesn’t have enough weapons on the offensive side of the football to make a come back on the road. The Steelers have always been one of the best teams on primetime and they will show up with a strong performance in this one.