The NFL will look to compete with the NBA on Christmas Day for viewers, as they give us a couple of games. In the first matchup, we have the Pittsburgh Steelers travelling south to Texas where they will take on the Texans. The Texans are just looking to get out of this season with a strong finish, while the Steelers are gearing up for the postseason. The Jaguars lost on Sunday against the 49ers in San Francisco, setting up the Steelers in prime position to earn a first-round bye.
The Patriots won, though, dashing their hopes of getting homefield throughout the playoffs. It is no easy task going to Foxborough and beating the Patriots. However, if there is one team the Pats don’t want to see, it’d be the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have beaten the Patriots before in Foxborough in the postseason and have been a bit of a thorn in their side. Nevertheless, the Patriots would be heavy favorites.
There was a time when the Texans looked like a postseason team. Let’s imagine that J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus don’t get injured, along with Deshaun Watson. That looks like not only a playoff team, but a team who would be a major threat. Other teams won’t have to worry about it, though, because at 4-10 the Texans are out of the picture.
The future is looking bright, though. The Texans are holding their breath that Watson makes a full recovery and comes back on the field looking the same as he did before blowing his knee out. Backup Tom Savage will miss another start, as T.J. Yates will get the nod under center. The Steelers can’t overlook the Texans here or they may be in for a fight. Let’s get straight to our Steelers vs. Texans pick below. Merry Christmas!
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Houston Texans Betting Odds:
vs. Texans +9.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Steelers vs. Texans Pick:
If this is Ben Roethlisberger’s final season, he could make it really special with a Super Bowl. It would be even more bitter sweet if the Steelers get to the Super Bowl off a win against the Patriots in the AFC Championship. Talk about vindication after losing the way they did. They must forget about that loss quickly, because they get a team with nothing to lose in Week 16. The Texans have lost four in a row, including seven of their last eight games. It’s been ugly without Watson at the controls.
Yates has started the last two games and has been okay. Nobody expects him to go in there and light the scoreboard up, but he can be a serviceable quarterback. Yates did have some starting experience from the past. Notably, Yates has some playoff experience. In fact, he was responsible for the Texans first ever playoff win in 2013, a 31-10 win over the Bengals. They were operating with a much better defense at that point, but Yates is decent enough. The Texans don’t miss much with Savage injured, because they are both pretty similar, vanilla quarterbacks. Although, Yates does have experience on Savage.
Yates has tossed 3 touchdowns and 1 interception in his two starts. Not bad for a guy coming off the bench cold. The Texans were drilled by the 49ers last week, 45-7. Not much Yates could have done about that. The Steelers haven’t performed too well on the road. They’re averaging just 20.9 points per game on the road.
On the road, they beat the Browns by 3 points, lost to the Bears in overtime, beat the Chiefs by 6, Lions by 5, Colts by 3, and a 23-20 win over the Bengals. The only complete game they put together on the road was a 26-9 win over the Ravens. The Texans are going to treat this game like it’s some big game. The Steelers on the other hand may very well go through the motions and just be happy to get out with a win. I’d go with the points here. I feel we see an inspired Texans squad on Christmas at home.
PICK: TEXANS +9.5 (-110)