Houston Texans vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Matchup Preview (09/27/20): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
The winless Houston Texans travel to Heinz Field to take on the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers. Opening the season against Kansas City, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh is an incredibly tough draw for Houston, but there is no rest for the wicked, as not very many 0-3 teams make the playoffs (although there is reason to believe the expanded playoffs will skew those numbers slightly). Pittsburgh rediscovered its defensive identity last season after a horrendous start. Now, with the return of 38-year-old Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, they suddenly find themselves as a dark-horse candidate for the Super Bowl while they shoot up power rankings. For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Houston Texans at Pittsburgh Steelers Matchup Page.
Date: Sunday, September 27th, 2020
Time: 12:00 PM CT
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
TV Coverage: CBS
Texans vs. Steelers Live Stream
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Houston Texans: Duke Johnson (ankle) Q, Peter Kalambayi (hamstring) Q, Cullen Gillaspia (concussion) Q
Pittsburgh Steelers: David Castro (knee) Q, Bud Dupree (shoulder) Q, Tyson Alualu (knee) Q, Diontae Johnson (toe) Q
Houston Texans Analysis
If you go back almost 11 quarters ago in Houston Texans football, they led the Kansas City Chiefs 24-0 in the divisional round of the 2019 eastern conference playoffs. Since that moment, they were outscored 51-7 and watched from home as Kansas City would continue on and eventually win the Super Bowl. During the offseason Houston had just five picks at the draft, they traded DeAndre Hopkins for David Johnson, and signed Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb. Now Houston has been outscored 67-36 in their two losses so far in the 2020 NFL season.
While Deshaun Watson has still shown flashes of vintage Deshaun Watson, the offense doesn’t look as good as it has in years past. Oft-injured Will Fuller seemed primed to step in as a top wide receiver after week one, but ultimately missed most of week two with an apparent hamstring injury. In his absence, Watson pivoted to Cooks and Cobb to make plays. David Johnson looked healthy and explosive in week one, but followed it up with a lackluster week two, in which he rushed for just 34 yards on 11 carries to go along with his two catches for 14 yards. Another area for concern, yet again, is the sacks. Deshaun Watson has been sacked eight times in two games, continuing a trend of leading the league in allowed sacks (he’s tied for the lead now, and has led the league in each of the past two seasons). This is a major concern going up against one of the most sack-prolific teams in the NFL in week three. However, as lackluster as the offense has been, the defense has been worse.
Granted their two opponents were two of the most explosive offenses in the league (Kansas City and Baltimore), Houston is a team that expects their defense to be competitive against anyone. Instead, they have given up 336 yards on 53 carries to running backs, good enough for a yards-per-carry clip of 6.34. Meanwhile, in week one, Mahomes threw for 211 yards and three touchdowns on 24 of 32 passing, and Lamar Jackson had 204 yards and a touchdown on 18 of 24 passing to go along with is 54 yards on the ground. Even more frustrating is that the defense was unable to force a takeaway in either game. For Houston to get in the win column for the first time in 2020, the defense needs to show up and make some plays against Pittsburgh.
Houston Texans Depth Chart
Pittsburgh Steelers Analysis
What a difference a year makes. Through week five of the 2019 NFL season, the Pittsburgh Steelers were 1-4 and had become the laughing stock of the NFL. Mason Rudolph had taken over after the elbow injury to Roethlisberger, and the defense had given up nearly 30 points-per-game in those four losses. Now, the Steelers are not only 2-0, but appear to have one of the league’s top defenses, as well as their hall-of-fame quarterback back under center.
Offensively, Pittsburgh has gotten the job done. Roethlisberger has completed nearly 70 percent of his 73 pass attempts for 540 yards, five touchdowns, and just one interception. A healthy JuJu Smith-Schuster, along with the emergence of Diontae Johnson, has given Big Ben a solid one-two punch at the wide receiver position. Additionally, he has a healthy group of secondary options with James Conner, Benny Snell, Eric Ebron, Vance Mcdonald, James Washington, and rookie Chase Claypool.
Defensively, Pittsburgh has been good as well. In week one, they intercepted Daniel Jones twice and sacked him once, holding him to just a 63-percent completion percentage. In week two, they sacked the two Denver quarterbacks combined a whopping seven times, as well as forcing two more takeaways. While they did allow Denver and Jeff Driskel to hang in the game, they ultimately sacked him on fourth-and-two from their own 15-yard line inside of two minutes to seal the game. The above-average defense and healthy offense has Pittsburgh rightfully favored in this matchup.
Pittsburgh Steelers Depth Chart
Betting Corner Steelers -8
Spread: Steelers -4
Moneyline: Pittsburgh -265, Houston + 210
The opening line started with the Steelers favored by four. Considering the 2-0 against 0-2 dynamic, as well as how disappointing Houston has looked, don’t be surprised if the line shifts as betting heavily favors the Steelers to cover. Additionally, there’s a decent chance these two teams eclipse the 45-point over/under as well. Despite the solid defense, Roethlisberger has still thrown the ball 73 times in two games and is facing a defense that has allowed north of 30 points in both weeks so far in 2020. Additionally, if Houston falls behind, expect a pass-heavy approach from Watson and the Texans’ offense as well.
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Daily Fantasy Picks
James Conner feels like a gamble every time you plug him into your lineup. However, consider the fact that Houston has allowed the eighth-most points to fantasy running backs thus far in 2020. Rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a strong NFL debut against Houston in week one with 138 yards and a touchdown on the ground. In week two, Gus Edwards, Mark Ingram II, and J.K. Dobbins combined for 176 yards rushing and a touchdown on just 21 carries (8.38 yards-per-carry). Meanwhile, Conner bounced back with a strong week two. He had 106 yards and a touchdown on the ground off 16 carries, as well as two catches for 15 yards. Currently, he’s going for $6,700 on DraftKings in a standard $50,000 budget.
If you scroll past JuJu Smith-Schuster at $6600 on DraftKings, you’ll find Pittsburgh’s target leader Diontae Johnson down at just $5400. Through two weeks, Johnson has 14 catches for 149 yards and a touchdown off 23 targets and is by far receiving the Steelers’ highest share of Air Yards. Meanwhile, Houston is only average in terms of allowed fantasy points to the wide receiver position. Considering his price, how often Big Ben throws the ball, and the opportunity he will receive against a beatable defense, Diontae Johnson is a great play.
It’s hard to pass up on Deshaun Watson’s number-one target at just $5200 on a standard $50,000 budget. Last week, with Will Fuller dealing with an apparent hamstring injury, Brandin Cooks led the team in targets with nine. He hauled in five of those targets for 95 yards. While it appeared in week one as if Cooks was taking a back seat to Fuller as Watson’s new leading option, Cooks clearly benefited from Fuller’s absence. If Fuller sits or is limited again, expect another busy day for Cooks
They might be a little pricey, but the Steelers defense is going to have really good weeks at the DST position. Across their two games, the Steelers have averaged over 10 fantasy points while racking up 10 sacks, three interceptions, a safety, and a fumble recovery. Meanwhile, Houston has struggled early. Only the Eagles have given up more fantasy points to the DST position in standard NFL scoring than Houston has. In two games, Houston has given the ball away three times and allowed eight sacks.