Sunday, September 27, 2020, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, 1 p.m. ET
Texans at Steelers Betting Preview: Texans (+4/-110), Steelers (-4/-110)
The one constant for the Texans in an 0-2 start has been David Johnson. The running back has logged more snaps than any player at his position in the AFC, but a stiff challenge awaits in the fiery 3-4 front of the Steelers. Pittsburgh stuffed Saquon Barkley early and often in Week 1, then racked up six sacks of Broncos backup Jeff Driskel in Week 2.
Deshaun Watson’s mobility helps the Texans keep plays alive but zone blitzes can limit his damage if he takes off. The optimal plan for the Texans is quick throws to running backs and tight ends that keep the safeties and linebackers home. If Watson can’t keep the chains moving with extended drives, he’ll be exposed to a brutal greeting at Pittsburgh.
Containing Ben Roethlisberger to the pocket is no longer a worry. But the Texans are not generating the constant pass rush expected, in part because J.J. Watt is fighting a hip injury. Watt should have a favorable matchup on the left side of the line with the Steelers using a backup at right tackle.
The Houston secondary has been easy pickings for Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) and Lamar Jackson (Ravens) and containing tight ends remains a problem. Eric Ebron, signed as a free agent, could be in line for a breakout game and rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool, who hauled in a long TD pass last week, might also be a nice play for anytime TD bettors.
Pittsburgh (2-0) plans to be a run-first offense and the emergence of Benny Snell Jr. in Week 1 as a coop play with James Conner gives the Steelers an added dimension. Snell is a better receiver and is slippery after the catch. Tackling, especially outside the numbers, has plagued the Texans.
Texans at Steelers Betting Pick for Week 3
With the Jaguars and Vikings up next for Houston, this game might not be the make-or-break scenario many envision for the Texans. But expect an air of desperation from the defense and inspired play from Watson to give Houston a chance in the fourth quarter.
Texans at Steelers Betting Pick:
Steelers 24, Texans 20
Texans at Steelers Best Bet for Week 3
Ebron has size and speed in spades. While he might not block to the liking of the coaching staff, he’s a weapon easily employed to attack the Texans’ safeties. The Ravens (Mark Andrews) and Chiefs (Travis Kelce) notched TD passes to their tight ends in the first two games of the season against Houston.
Texans at Steelers Best Bet: Steelers TE Eric Ebron anytime TD (+400)