Two 3-3 teams face other on Monday Night Football: The Houston Texans and the Pittsburgh Steelers, two teams that aren’t quite sure where they’re going this season. A win or loss in this game might actually determine if there’s anything left to play for the rest of the way.
Both teams are heading into the game following a loss. The Steelers are finally home after two consecutive road games, losing to the Cleveland Browns on the previous one, as they continue the trend of following each win with a loss. The offensive line is in shambles, making life very difficult for Ben Roethlisberger, having a terrible game against the Browns with just 50% completion percentage while throwing an interception.
The Texans are also coming off a loss (33-28 to the Colts), in which they had just two offensive yards in the first quarter and made most of their way back thanks to their defense, which will gain a big boost to the pass rush with the return of Jadeveon Clowney, who hasn’t played since week 1. The Steelers allow just 44.7 yards per game in the first quarter, so that may prove once more to be a challenge for the Texans to get things started on the right foot.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has been the worst quarterback in the AFC when it comes to performances in first quarters. He sometimes makes up for it later on, but for a team that has a much better running back than quarterback (Arian Foster averaging 102 rushing yards per game), having to count on a dysfunctional passing game each time to bring them back hasn’t been working out too well for them.
Despite J.J. Watt and the Texans’ ability to create turnovers, their defense is only 27th in the NFL, giving up 397 yards per game. The Steelers might have problems protecting their quarterback, but they put up yards on the board, averaging 397 yards of offense each game. Ben Roethlisberger has so far thrown for 1593 yards with eight touchdown passes and three interceptions through the first six games. Le’Veon Bell has done a good job out of the backfield, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
The Texans have already fallen quite far behind the surging Indianapolis Colts. Things are a bit closer in the AFC North, but the Steelers are also trailing; the Baltimore Ravens. Falling too far behind is an option that’s not very favorable for both teams, who have been looking for some offensive consistency since the beginning of this season.