There is a genuine possibility that the Pittsburgh Steelers could finish as the top seed overall in the NFL going into the playoffs. They are currently in a battle with the New England Patriots for the AFC top seed, although the Patriots have the upper hand right now and would need to slip up to give the Steelers hope.
Both teams have relatively easy remaining games, although the Steelers have an easier run-in, with a home game against the Cleveland Browns rounding off their season after this one against the Texans. The big news this week is that Antonio Brown is injured and out for the Steelers, although they are hopeful they will see him in the postseason. That gives Brown two weeks to recover, and they shouldn’t really need him over the next two games, they should be able to pick up two wins without him. That will prevent them from rushing him back a week early, allowing him the rest and recuperation he needs.
The emergence of JuJu Smith-Schuster has certainly helped the Steelers this season, and he should be able to cover the hole left by Brown for two games. Smith-Schuster has nearly 700 receiving yards this season, along with five touchdowns and has really cemented his role as the number two receiver in Pittsburgh.
The Texans have a 4-10 record so far this season and that has been in part due to the injuries to JJ Watt and Deshaun Watson. They will be hoping he can lead them to a better record next season and will pick up another fairly high draft pick in the summer thanks to their failings this season. They have a number of stars on the team, but things simply have not gone their way so far, and they will be hoping the summer brings them a change of fortunes.
This game looks like being a comfortable victory for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who still have something to play for and are much stronger than the Texans, even without Antonio Brown. While the playoffs are assured for the Steelers, a win in both of their final two games will not only clinch them the second seed, but it could give them the first, and maybe even the first overall. That would give them key home field advantage in big games, and would really enhance their chances of lifting the Lombardi Trophy.