The Steelers have a Christmas Day date for the second-straight year. This time around, their dance partners are the Houston Texans in their home stadium. The Steelers have very little margin for error and need to resume their winning ways to earn a bye. It’s time to meet the 4-10 foes that stand in their way.
*No. 2 QB T.J. Yates
The journeyman quarterback returned for his third stint with Houston in November. It's been a disastrous season for quarterbacks in Orbit City and Yates is just trying to get the Texans to the off-season at this point. Yates has three TD passes against one interception for 303 yards and a 45.3 completion percentage.
Other Texans Quarterbacks to Note: No. 8 Taylor Heinicke, No. 3 Tom Savage
*No. 26 RB Lamar Miller
Miller is a talented rusher playing behind a makeshift offensive line. The league's 12th leading rusher has three scores, 796 yards and an average of 3.6 yards per carry. But this doesn’t mean he can’t break one and punish the Steelers’ defense, if they’re not careful.
Other Texans’ Running Backs to Note: No. 27 D'Onta Foreman (IR), No. 28 Alfred Blue, No. 22 Jordan Todman, No. 38 Andre Ellington, *No. 45 FB Jay Prosch
*No. 10 LWR DeAndre Hopkins
Hopkins is one of the best WRs in the NFL, The Clemson Tiger is very aggressive as a route runner and will fight for and come back to the ball. Hopkins will be very dangerous to the Steelers’ secondary. He’s tied for fourth in the league with 92 grabs, second with 1,313 yards and first with 12 touchdowns.
Other Texans Wide Receivers to Note: *No. 15 Will Fuller IV, No. 13 Braxton Miller, No. 14 Chris Thompson, No. 11 DeAndrew White, No. 17 Cobi Hamilton
*No. 89 TE Stephen Anderson
As of Friday, Anderson is the only TE on the Texans roster, but he’ll get help from linemen lining up at the position. For 2017, the California Golden Bear has 24 catches for 338 yards and one touchdown.
*No. 71 LG Xavier Su'a Filo
Su'a Filo is the best lineman on a porous and beat-up offensive line. But that's only good for the Steelers. He'll hold his own, but whiffs on pass blocks frequently.
Other Texans Offensive Linemen to Note: *No. 70 LT Julie'n Davenport *No. 71 LG Xavier Su'a Filo, *No. 65 C Greg Mancz, *No. 79 RG Jeff Allen, *No. 68 RT Breno Guacomini, No. 77 G David Queesenberry, No. 61 G Kyle Fuller, No. 62 G Chad Slade
*No. 90 Edge Rusher/DL Jadeveon Clowney
Nasty, explosive and versatile. Clowney has played all seven positions in the Houston 4/3 defense and disguises his moves well. With nine sacks, three forced fumbles and two recoveries...the Pro Bowl honoree will be a handful for the three selections protecting Ben Roethlisberger. Last week, Clowney had four pressures of Blake Bortles. Contain Clowney and the task gets a little easier.
Other Texans Front Seven to Note: *No. 91 LDE Carlos Watkins, *No. 92 NT Brandon Dunn, *No. 93 RDE Joel Heath, No. 96 NT Chunky Clements, No. 97 DE Angelo Blackson, *No. 56 SLB Brian Cushing, No. 55 RILB Benardrick McKinney, *No. 41 LILB Zach Cunningham, No. 94 SLB Ufomba Kamalu, No. 53 OLB Gimel President, No. 51 RILB Dylan Cole, No. 52 LILB Brian Peters, No. 54 OLB LaTroy Lewis, No. 44 ILB Jelani Jenkins
No. 24 RCB Johnathan Joseph
Joseph and the Houston secondary got a gift without AB to defend on Christmas Day. The 33 year-old leads his team with nine pass defenses and two picks.
Other Texans Defensive Backs to Note: No. 30 LCB Kevin Johnson, No. 31 CB Treston Decoud, *No. 25 CB Kareem Jackson, No. 40 Marcus Williams, *No. 21 SS Marcus Gilchrist, *No. 29 FS Andre Hal, No. 35 S Eddie Pleasant, No. 43 S Corey Moore, No. 23 S Kurtis Drummond, No. 39 Ibraheim Campbell
No. 9 P Shane Lechler
Lechler is a 9-time Pro Bowl selection who still leads the league in punting yards in his 18th season. His leg can be a valuable weapon in the field-position game.
Other Texans Special Teamers to Note: No. 7 K Ka'imi Fairbairn, No. 46 LS Jonathan Weeks, No. 15 PR Will Fuller IV, No. 14 KR Chris Thompson, No. 22 KR Jordan Todman