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 What to watch for in Steelers-Texans

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Hawaii 5-0

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PostSubject: What to watch for in Steelers-Texans   Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:15 am

What to watch for in Steelers-Texans

By Marc Sessler
Around the NFL Writer
Published: Dec. 22, 2017

What says Christmas more than T.J. Yates in a Texans uniform?

Many things, to be fair, but he's the gift you're getting on Monday as part of a nationally televised NFL double-header for you to observe while downing Aunt Regina's Bundt cake and pounding day-old eggnog.

In both Christmas tilts, a team from Pennsylvania is being asked to handle their own business against inferior competition en route to January's playoff party.

Here's what we'll be watching for:

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3) at Houston Texans (4-10); 4:30 p.m. ET

1. The Steelers own the AFC North crown, but Pittsburgh's final seeding in the conference remains up in the air. The Steelers could wind up with the No. 1 spot or without a bye at all if they fall to the Texans or Browns over the next two weeks. Logic says they'll win out against a pair of damaged, floating opponents, but the loss of MVP candidate Antonio Brown -- sidelined with a partially torn calf -- reduces what this offense can do. After Brown was injured against the Patriots* last Sunday, Ben Roethlisberger's yards per attempt fell from 10.2 to 8.6, while his passer rating plummeted 32.7 points. Half of Big Ben's 138 yards post-Brown came on one winding, 69-yard catch-and-run by JuJu Smith-Schuster. In the four games Brown has missed since 2012, the typically explosive Steelers have averaged 14.0 points per game. Whether it's Smith-Schuster and Martavis Bryant stepping up or Le'Veon Bell playing the role of a do-everything hero, Pittsburgh must find a way to keep flying on this side of the ball.

2. The Texans are fresh off an ugly 45-7 loss to the Jaguars that saw Yates complete just 38.7 percent of his throws, the lowest figure for any signal-caller throwing 30-plus passes since Nick Foles in 2015. It's hard not to wonder what this Texans team could have accomplished in the AFC had dazzling rookie passer Deshaun Watson stayed healthy. Without him, this foundering attack has scored 20-plus points just once since Week 9. On a weekly basis, though, star wideout DeAndre Hopkins reminds us why he's a top-three player at his position, piling up numbers and generating highlight-reel catches no matter what ham-and-egger the Texans shove under center. Pittsburgh's primary goal is keep Hopkins from turning this into a game.

3. It's not the same as losing Brown, but James Conner's season-ending knee injury puts Pittsburgh's backfield in a tough spot. Stevan Ridley and Fitzgerald Toussaint are the last men standing behind Bell, the dictionary definition of a workhorse who's on pace for more touches (442) than any back since DeMarco Murray (449) with the Cowboys in 2014. This level of volume is largely unheard of in the NFL. Prior to Murray, the last two runners to record 410-plus touches in a season were Larry Johnson and Steven Jackson way back in 2006. The question is how you keep Bell fresh when Pittsburgh could still play up to five more games if it reaches the Super Bowl.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000896181/article/what-to-watch-for-in-steelerstexans-raiderseagles

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Wallace108

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PostSubject: Re: What to watch for in Steelers-Texans   Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:29 am

Am I the only one not excited about this game? Honestly, I can't remember ever being less excited about a Steelers game. After last week, playing the Texans just seems anticlimactic. I'm ready for the playoffs to begin. Hopefully the team isn't thinking like I am.

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solardave

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PostSubject: Re: What to watch for in Steelers-Texans   Sat Dec 23, 2017 7:56 am

@Wallace108 wrote:
Am I the only one not excited about this game? Honestly, I can't remember ever being less excited about a Steelers game. After last week, playing the Texans just seems anticlimactic. I'm ready for the playoffs to begin. Hopefully the team isn't thinking like I am.

I hope they are not over looking this team either. Hopkins can Burns us. They haven't had a 100 yd rusher in 17 games. Means they're due and the way we tackle they might have 2-100 yard nobodies. Both of our remaining games are not sure things IMO. We need momentum going into the playoffs.
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PostSubject: Re: What to watch for in Steelers-Texans   Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:17 pm

I'm pumped for this game. Can't wait to see the Steelers take out some frustration on a lesser opponent. Guarantee those players are not overlooking this game. They definitely want to lay into someone right about now.

I'd worry about next week's game if the Steelers win big on Monday. That could be the let down game.
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PostSubject: Re: What to watch for in Steelers-Texans   Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:47 pm

Shocked

Steelers Considering Benching Artie Burns For Texans Game

Joe Haden’s return to the field might not be the only shakeup in the secondary. It sounds like the Pittsburgh Steelers are considering benching Artie Burns for Monday afternoon’s game against the Houston Texans. Burns told the PPG’s Ray Fittipaldo that Cam Sutton received the first team reps Saturday morning. Burns was sent to the second team.

Burns told Fittipaldo he didn’t know if his role was going to change for the game.

http://www.steelersdepot.com/2017/12/steelers-considering-benching-artie-burns-texans-game/

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