Every week through the Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 season, I'll run a simulation on EA Sports Madden NFL 24 for the Steelers opponent for that week.
The structure of the sim is rather straightforward. I'll allow the CPU to play the game against itself to allow for a more authentic simulation. Six-minute quarters, with the weather as close to the forecast as possible. I won't pick up the controller to aid the Steelers in any way.
The simulation will run with Madden's most up-to-date rosters. I will only take out an injured player not yet recognized by Madden if they are confirmed to be out for the game.
The Steelers have some momentum on their side as they head down to Houston to take on a young Texans team. Here's how Madden NFL 24 sees the contest shaking out.
Steelers start strong in a game of keep away
Pittsburgh got going with a 14-yard pass to Darnell Washington and followed it up with a 16-yard gash from Najee Harris. The Steelers continued to lean on Harris to get into the red zone a few plays later. Kenny Pickett was off the mark on two end zone throws intended for George Pickens. The Steelers settled for a 36-yard field goal from Chris Boswell. To take a 3-0 lead.
Houston got started with a couple of Damien Pierce runs and a pair of tosses to Robert Woods from rookie quarterback CJ Stroud for 25 yards. Having crossed the 50, the Texans picked up a crucial first down with a screen to Devin Singletary. Their slow, methodical drive sees the first quarter end.
On the first play of the second quarter, Houston opted for a draw to Singletary on 3rd and 5 and got stuffed. Ka'imi Fairbairn sent the subsequent 43-yard field goal through the uprights to tie the game up.
The Steelers next drive started tough as Eric Murray got in free on a safety blitz. Pickens made a 13-yard reception on the next play but fumbled the football away to the Texans' defense. Thankfully, the replay booth stepped in and reversed the call as Pickens was clearly down before the ball popped loose.
Pat Freiermuth picked up the third down conversion on the next play, getting the Steelers back on schedule. The Steelers' offense mixed chunk plays with Harris on the ground and Pickett through the air to continue pressing the Texans' defense as the Steelers hit the two-minute warning just outside the red zone.
Harris made his second reception on the drive to nab a first down inside the red zone. However, on 3rd-and-3, Pickett missed Pickens in the endzone again. The Steelers chose to be aggressive and pick up the fourth down conversion on a Pickett scramble. With 24 seconds on the first half clock, Pickett and Pickens finally connect for a 4-yard touchdown to take a 10-3 lead.
The Texans don’t get much time with the football to close the first half, but play conservatively knowing they’ll have possession to start the second half with a short Stroud run.