5 Things to Watch vs. the Steelers

Patrick D. Starr

The Houston Texans are at important game today at Reliant and could help define the rest of the 2011 season. The Texans are at a crossroads, and that is if we will see if these are the new and improved Texans or the same 'ol Texans.


The Pittsburgh Steelers are standing in the way of the Texans to improve their season record and get Texans' fans back on the bandwagon. There are five things to watch in today's game that will prove important in the outcome.

1. Mentality The Texans have to shake the old mentality of previous seasons. They have beat two teams that are a combined 0-6 and lost to a NFC power. It is time to turn the page and prove that they can compete and win every week, and there is no better opportunity than today against the Steelers. The mentality of the team rests from the coaches to the players and if they want to move on as a franchise they are going to have to prove they can beat the big boys. 3-1 sounds better that 2-2 and this could play a big role in the AFC standings if they can get this one from the Steelers.

2. Troy Polamalu and James Harrison- The Texans are going to have to control these two, who are possibly the top players in the NFL at their respective position. The bootleg game is probably going to be scarce today, because of the threat of them off the edges. The Texans are going to have to keep an eye on those two and keep them from making game changing plays. Polamalu and Harrison are going to make plays, but keeping them from changing the game is a big key.

3. Defensive Line Time- With the injuries that have taken over the Steelers offensive line, it is time for J.J. Watt, Shaun Cody, Antonio Smith, Tim Jamison, Earl Mitchell and Tim Bulman to take control of today's game. The defensive line is going to have to put Ben Roethlisberger on his back and keep their passing and running game under control. They are the key for the defense to dominate this game and help the team get back on track as a unit.

4. Offensive Game Plan- The Texans are going to have to be careful with their play calling, but be aggressive all at once. The Texans can take advantage of the Steelers weak secondary with the quick passing game, but they have to stay true to what makes them successful, running the football. The Texans have no time to be "cute" with the play calling and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison needs a good game behind the head set. Look for the Texans to open up aggressive and put pressure on the Steelers secondary with their passing attack.

5. Arian Foster- It will interesting to see how he feels today and how much he is going to be used. Foster says he could have gone against the Saints, but having a healthy Foster is the most important thing for the Texans. He brings a much-needed boost to the Texans and gives some explosion to the running game. Ben Tate has been solid in the early part of the year, but Foster is a top 5 back in the league for a reason. Look for Foster to get his fair share of carries and make an impact on this game for the Texans.

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