The Pittsburgh Steelers defense is on fire and a massive reason why the team is 2-1 in the young NFL season. The Steelers' defense will play a key role in whether Pittsburgh moves to 3-1 against the Houston Texans in Week 4.
The Texans come in with a rookie quarterback in CJ Stroud, the second-overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Stroud has yet to throw an interception, and despite a true lack of elite talent on Houston's roster, he's looked fairly comfortable in his first three starts. Last week he led his team to a surprising divisional victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Duval, 37-17.
The offense is balanced in its approach overall and isn't asking too much out of Stroud, though Houston has attempted the seventh most passes in the league through three weeks. The rushing duo of Dameon Pierce and Devin Singletary hasn't been as effective as Houston may have expected. With 60 carries between them, they only have 140 yards on the ground, with one touchdown for Pierce.
In large part, this is due to the health of the offensive line, which features former Pittsburgh Steeler Kendrick Green at left guard. This week the Texans will be without All-Pro left tackle Laremy Tunsil and his backup Josh Jones. Michael Dieter is also questionable as of this writing. With a banged-up offensive line, it's hard for Houston to provide quality protection for CJ Stroud, who has been sacked 11 times already this season.
Sacks are what the Steelers are best at, especially with September's Defensive Player of the Month, TJ Watt lurking off the edge. His running mate, Alex Highsmith will draw the third option at left tackle this week, lining him up for a dangerous performance in Houston.
Turnovers are also a key specialty of the Steelers' defense, ranking second in the league in takeaways. On the flip side, the Texans are ranked 5th in turnovers, having protected the football well so far.
Where can Pittsburgh be effective against the Houston offense? We'll take a look at three keys to the game for the Steelers' defense this week against Houston.