The Houston Texans (2-1) are in first place in the AFC South; a spot most often reserved for the Indianapolis Colts. However, the Colts are struggling with out their field general QB Peyton Manning, which has left the door open for the division franchises who have been in waiting. At 37-43 in their last 5 seasons. Their best record was 9-7 in 2008. They have showed promise at times, but have always faded into the sunset. They share the division lead with the Tennessee Titans who are also 2-1. They started 2-0 before relenting two 4th quarters leads last week to the New Orleans Saints in a 40-33 loss.
This Sunday, the team will have yet another tough game against the 2-1 Pittsburgh Steelers. The difference between the Steelers and the Saints is that the Steelers have a defense. The Saints and the Texans beat people with their offense, not with their defense. Led by QB Matt Schaub who threw almost 400 and 3 touchdowns, but falling short last week. He could only salvage one touchdown in 5 visits to the New Orleans red zone last week, which is not very encouraging.
Both of the teams they have beaten this season have yet to win a game (Miami and Indianapolis). So, what does this say about the Texans? It says that if they want to earn some respect they are going to have to defeat an established team known for winning. That team could be the Pittsburgh Steelers. It is not like them to have not made an effort towards improving their defense. They brought in Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips and paid over 34 million for Defensive Backs Danieal Manning and Johnathan Joseph. In addition, they drafted all defensive positions with their first 5 draft picks. All that effort has yet to pay off.
This week they will be able to test the Pittsburgh Steelers defense, which has bounced back since their Week 1 embarrassment at the hands of their rival Baltimore Ravens. Both of these teams have the potential to make it to the playoffs and be very competitive, but who will be 2-2 and who will be 3-1 after this Sunday? Without the Colts at full strength, this team does not have a lot of competition in the AFC South, but the Steelers have the Baltimore Ravens and the upstart Cleveland Browns to contend with.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a battered offensive line. Willie Colon is on the injured reserve and Jonathan Scott has a bad ankle, but should play. The Texans will be without offensive lineman Darius Butler as well. Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin says he is depending on his beat up offensive line to prevail this week in Houston. The Texans are expecting RB Arian Foster to be back from a nagging hamstring injury, which should help their efforts as well. The Steelers need their running back Rashard Mendenhall to find some running room because he has only managed 148 yards this season.
The Steelers secondary should have their hands full trying to guard WR Andre Johnson who is as good as it gets. He has average over 100 yards a game receiving in his first 3 games. Chances are they won’t be able to run against the Steelers so this game will be on the shoulders of Matt Schaub.