Steelers vs. Texans: Please Block Mario Williams

Last meeting: The Steelers rolled Houston at Reliant Stadium 27-7 in Week 2 of the '05 season, in which Ben had a passer rating of 139.8.

Where the Steelers should be fine

Stopping the run: Ahman Green, who missed almost all of preseason with a groin injury, is the starting back for the Texans until he gets hurt or Steve Slaton takes his job. Either of which are bound to happen by midseason. With Aaron Smith healthy again, Pittsburgh should be more than up to the task of snuffing out the ground game.

Containing the pass: The Texans line was never as bad as their sack totals made them look under David Carr, but it's not a great unit either. The vaunted improved Steelers pass rush is going to have to pressure Matt Schaub enough that he won't have time to find Andre Johnson on any deep routes.

Throwing the ball: That is, so long as Ben isn't being thrown to the turf by Mario Williams. Fortunately, the rest of the Texans' D-line can be dealt with if the Steelers can hatch an effective scheme while double teamming Mario. Houston's secondary is no great shakes either and I, for one, am looking forward to the Ben-to-Santonio bomb display the Steelers have been hinting at all preseason.

Areas of concern

Special teams: Until proven otherwise, return coverage is a problem and the Texans have a pretty good returner in Andre Davis, who led the NFL in kickoff TD returns last year with three. Uh, shit.

Surprise, pass blocking: As mentioned above, if Mario Williams can be contained, they offense should be fine, though that's always easier in theory.

Most prognosticators aren't believing the Steelers as nearly a touchdown favorite in this game. It could certainly be close, but - as we've come to expect - that pretty much boils down to the line. If they perform decently and Polamalu is sufficiently in shape to be a factor in the secondary, the Steelers could win this one going away, but such is the uncertainty of Week 1s, which, by the way, the Steelers have won five in a row.

1 comment:

Broke But Still Drinking said...

I think I know who is responsible for the high speed chase in Pittsburgh.