The Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3 Overall, 6-1 Away), without Antonio Brown, will play the Houston Texans (4-10 Overall, 3-4 Home) this Christmas Day at 4:30 p.m. E.T. Our Pittsburgh plays Houston 2017 NFL pick offers the Steelers at anywhere from -8.0 to -9.5 and the over/under at 45.0. The Steelers, who will be without star receiver Antonio Brown, are coming off a tough 24-21 loss to the New England Patriots on Dec 17. Prior to that loss the Steelers had won eight straight. The Texans, who have lost four in a row, are third in the AFC South, and unlike Pittsburgh, which has won the AFC North and a playoff spot, are out of the postseason.
The Steelers, who are averaging 24.6 PPG, put a very fine defense on the field. That D is holding opponents to 19.9 points, 101 rushing yards, and 229 passing yards per game. QB Ben Roethlisberger (63.9 COMP%, 26 REC, 14 INTs) will be looking to connect with WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (43 REC, 669 YDs, 16.3 AVG, 5 TDs). Dual-threat LeVeon Bell (80 REC, 627 YDs, 7.8 AVG, 2 TDs) will also be an important element in today’s passing offense. Bell has rushed 1,222 yards, averaging 4.0 YPA and crossing the goal line eight times. Two other receivers have 40-plus receptions and a total of five TD catches.
Two big stats for the Steeler defense are their sacks, which stand at 43, and interceptions, which are at 14. DE Cameron Heyward (10 SCKs, 7 TFL) and LB Vince Williams (77 TCKLs, 7 SCKs, 2 TFL) offer top-notch play along the line. The loss of LB Ryan Shazier to a serious spinal injury has taxed the pass-D. Safety Sean Davis (85 TCKLs, 2 SCKs, 7 PD) and CB Artie Burns (50 TCKLs, 2 TFL, 11 PD) will be essential today when it comes to defending against the pass.
- Steelers without Brown still have lots of talent on offense
- Roethlisberger is a premium QB
- D is good despite loss of Shazier
Any NFL team that is scoring 22.8 PPG while allowing 27.1 PPG has problems winning and that is exactly where this Texan team presently finds itself. Their passing game is in bad shape as is their pass defense. Third string QB T.J. Yates (45.6 COMP%, 3 TDs, 1 INT) is struggling. WR DeAndre Hopkins (92 REC, 1,313 YDs, 14.3 AVG, 12 TDs), who is the team’s top receiver, is questionable for today. RBs Lamar Miller (220 ATT, 796 YDs, 3.6 AVG, 3 TDs) and
D’Onta Foreman (78 327, 4.2 AVG, 2 TDs) should see a decent amount of carries today.
The defense is giving up over 260 yards in the air. If they do that today, Roethlisberger will have a good day. The team has 11 picks and 50 PD, as well as 14 FF. They also have 55 TFL and 31 sacks. Safety Andre Hal (3 INTs, 5 PD, 2 FF) and LB Benardrick McKinney (84 TCKLs, 4 SCKs, 7 TFL) offer solid defensive chops.
- QB situation is exceptionally challenging
- Defense can be porous
- Lack of offensive tools
Three Important Takeaways
We have three key takeaways when it comes to our Pittsburgh plays Houston 2017 NFL pick-
- Huge advantage at QB, RB, and WR for Steelers
- Steeler D outshines Texan D
- Both teams carrying inhibiting injuries
Our Pittsburgh Plays Houston 2017 NFL Pick
Even without Brown on offense and Shazier on defense, the Steelers will put sound units on the field. We don’t see the Texans scoring many points today. We’re taking Pittsburgh at -8.0 and the under at 45.5.