Point spread: Houston -3
The Pittsburgh Steelers will try and raise their current winning streak to three games when they travel to Reliant Stadium in Houston to take on the Texans this Sunday afternoon. The opening kick-off is slated for 1 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast nationally on CBS.
Pittsburgh stumbled out of the gate this season with a downright ugly 35-7 loss to Baltimore as a one-point road underdog in a game that went ‘over’ the 36.5-point line. It followed this up with victories over Seattle and Indianapolis to get to 2-1 straight-up (1-2 against the spread).
Turnovers have been a major problem for Pittsburgh, especially with quarterback Ben Roethisberger. In three games, he has thrown four interceptions and lost four fumbles as the team is already minus nine in its turnover ratio. The defense has been able to pick up the slack and is currently ranked second in the league in total yards allowed (263.1) and eighth in points allowed (18.1).
Houston lost for the first time this season when it found itself on the short end of a 73-point shootout with New Orleans. The Saints rallied for the 40-33 win against a Texan team that came in as 3.5-point road underdogs. The total easily went ‘over’ the 51-point line. This followed wins over Indianapolis and Miami in which it had a combined plus-37 point advantage on the score board.
Pro-Bowl running back Arian Foster has only carried the ball 10 times this season due to a strained hamstring, but second-year vet Ben Tate has picked up the slack with 301 rushing yards on 66 carries. Wide receiver Andre Johnson is off to another strong start with 316 yards receiving and Matt Schaub has completed 65.2 percent of his throws for 823 yards and six touchdowns.
Pittsburgh is 9-3 straight-up in its last 12 road games, but just 2-4 against the spread in its last six games on the road. The total has gone ‘over’ in four of its last five road games.
Houston is 4-9 SU in its last 13 games overall, but 4-2 SU in its last six games at home. The total has gone ‘over’ in four of its last six home games and in eight of its last 12 games overall.
The last time these two teams played one another was in 2008 with the Steelers rolling to a 38-17 victory as seven-point home favorites. While the Texans come into this matchup a bit banged up on both sides of the ball, look for them to pull out a win that covers the three points, as Pittsburgh’s offense will struggle to keep pace.
The Pick: Houston 23 Pittsburgh 17
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