Saturday, September 06, 2008

Texans: What are the Chances...?

Today marks the return of our "What are the Chances...?" segment, in which The Steelyard assesses the chances of the Steelers winning their upcoming game. Last year, "What ..." finished 13-4 and is 26-7 over the last two years, including last season's playoff game versus Jacksonville.

Generally speaking, Pittsburgh fans seem quite confident about beating the Texans, perhaps too confident. Houston is a much better team than people think, and the Texans' strengths (defensive line, for example) correspond to the Steelers' weaknesses (offensive line, for one).

Having said that, here are the most likely problems to emerge versus Houston: 1) The Steelers' pass protection consistently breaks down, leading to an assortment of drive-killing plays. 2) The Steelers give up big plays in the return game and/or make game changing mistakes in their own return game (see next item). 3) Rashard Mendenhall fumbles the game away, either on return(s) or out of the backfield. Back on July 22, The Steelyard addressed the potential for Mendenhall to have fumbling problems coming into the NFL, and unfortunately, our fears have been realized. Contrary to recent public pronouncements, Mike Tomlin and the other Steelers' coaches haven't forgotten about Mendenhall's fumbling issues, and you can be sure that the Texans know about Rashard's woes and will be looking to strip the ball on every touch he receives.

Our sense is that it will be a relatively low-scoring game and that the Steelers will do enough to win (let's give Pittsburgh a 55 percent chance of victory), but really, it wouldn't shock us one bit if the Texans came away with an upset. Last season, Ben Roethlisberger did an unbelievable job of covering up the play of his leaky offensive line, leading a team with, say, 6-10 talent to a 10-6 record. Big Ben may need more of that same magic this year, and in tomorrow's game in particular, if the Steelers hope to be successful.

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Anonymous Naim Harvey said...

Your assestment of the game is all speculation, you really can't base all of your facts on last season stats. The offensive line is really better this year. The Nation is right on this one it will be a blow out. I will be here all year to help you out.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Heath said...

I don't know if the word "blowout" is applicable, but on a day when Myron Cope, Dwight White and Fats Holmes are being honored, there is absolutely 0% chance of a Steelers loss. Final score: Pittburgh 31 Houston 13

11:14 PM  

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