NFL Week 16 Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Texans

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, December 20, 2017 12:49 AM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 12:49 AM UTC

Two teams with very different levels of motivation here would presume an easy Pittsburgh win. However, it could be a major trap game for the Steelers. Survivor Pick: Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Texans (+10, 44)

I can’t remember a more painful loss in a bigger regular-season game in years than what the Steelers suffered on Sunday against New England. Of course, tight end Jesse James appeared to have scored the winning touchdown in the final seconds to give Pittsburgh surely the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Except that TD was revered on review because no one in the NFL seems to know when a catch is an actual catch these days. Then, Ben Roethlisberger was picked off in the end zone and now Pittsburgh probably will have to win in New England in the AFC title game to reach the Super Bowl. What a crushing loss. To make matters worse, Antonio Brown, the NFL’s best receiver and who might have won the receiving Triple Crown, suffered a partially torn calf muscle. The club thinks he should return for the playoffs, but getting a first-round bye is even more important now. Don’t forget, the Jaguars hold a head-to-head tiebreaker with Pittsburgh. Thus, if those two finish with the same record, and Jacksonville is just one back, then the Steelers suddenly are playing on wild-card weekend. I’m sure Pittsburgh won’t blow this game against a bad Texans team on its third-string quarterback, but it’s going to be closer than double digits after such a deflating loss and no Brown. In their last four games, the Steelers are 3-1. Their games have been decided by three, three, one and three points.

  • Steelers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
  • Texans are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game.
Free NFL Pick: Texans +10.5 (buy up from 10)Best Line Offered: WagerWeb

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This will be Brown’s first game missed due to injury 2012. He’s going to lose the receptions title as Brown has 101 catches – his NFL-record fifth straight season with at least 100 – and No. 2 Jarvis Landry of Miami is only three back. Brown might still win the receiving yardage total as he has 1,533 with No. 2 DeAndre Hopkins of Houston at 1,313. Hopkins leads the NFL with 12 TD catches so it’s possible he could win the receiving Triple Crown with 92 catches. Except has a terrible quarterback in T.J. Yates. In pace of the concussed Tom Savage last week in a 45-7 loss in Jacksonville, Yates was an ugly 12 of 31 for 128 yards with a TD and a pick – a nice 48.8 rating. Yates especially struggled in the first half, completing just 5 of 14 passes for 31 yards and an interception. Savage will not play again this season. Could this be the home finale for Houston coach Bill O’Brien? He said, "I will never resign as the head coach of the Houston Texans," this week, but it might not be his choice. O'Brien said whether or not he gets a contract extension is up to owner Bob McNair. O'Brien has one season remaining on the five-year contract he signed when he became the head coach of the Texans in 2014.

  • Under is 10-1 in Steelers last 11 road games vs. a team with a losing home record.
  • Under is 5-2 in Texans last 7 games overall.
Free NFL Pick: Under 44Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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