Countdown to 2020: The Texans

Date: Sept 27

Time: 1 p.m.

Venue: Heinz Field

All-Time Regular-Season Series: Steelers lead, 4-2.

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Last Meeting: The Steelers enjoyed a Merry Christmas in Texas when they traveled to Houston and beat the Texans, 34-6, on Dec. 25, 2017, at NRG Stadium. The visitors led 20-0 at halftime and 27-0 after three quarters. The defense registered seven sacks against two Houston quarterbacks (T.J. Yates six times, Taylor Heinicke once), including three by CB Mike Hilton.

Game action photos from the Pittsburgh Steelers' Week 16 game against the Houston Texans

Last Season: Houston went 10-6 and finished first in the AFC South. The Texans ranked 13th in total offense (ninth rushing, 15th passing) and 28th in total defense (25th rushing, 29th passing). Houston beat Buffalo in an AFC Wild Card game, 22-19, in overtime, and lost to Kansas City in an AFC Divisional Round game, 51-31, both at home. The Texans had a 24-0 lead before being outscored, 51-7, in the final two-and-a-half quarters of their playoff loss to the Chiefs.

Since Then: The Texans shook things up and then some when they traded WR DeAndre Hopkins and a fourth-round pick to Arizona for second- and fourth-round selections and RB David Johnson. Hopkins tied for third in the NFL with 104 reception in 2019, for 1,165 yards and seven touchdowns, and was a first-team All-Pro. He also threw a touchdown pass last season. WR Randall Cobb was signed as an unrestricted free agent from Dallas to help pick up the pass-catching slack. Johnson rushed for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2016, but he's produced just 1,308 yards and nine TDs on the ground in the three seasons since (345 and two last season). Second-round pick Ross Blacklock of TCU was the Texans' first selection in April (40th overall) and is perceived as a player who can add punch to the run-stuffing and the pass rush at defensive tackle.

3,852 pass yards (67.3%), 26 TDs & 12 INTs Texans QB DeShaun Watson in 2019

Headliners: Houston still has QB DeShaun Watson. He threw for 3,852 yards in 2019 (333-for-495, 67.3 percent), with 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Watson also rushed for 413 yards, averaged 5.0 yards per carry and scored seven rushing TDs. DE J.J. Watt is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and has 96 career sacks in 112 career regular-season games (all starts). Watt didn't miss a regular-season game in his first five seasons, but has played all 16 of those just once over the last four campaigns (in 2018). Duke Johnson is one of the NFL's best two-way threats at running back, as evidenced by his 410 yards rushing and 410 yards receiving in 2019.

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Stat That Matters: The Texans, 4-6 all-time in the postseason, have won a playoff game in four of their six appearances, beginning in 2011.

Memorable Meeting: The first game the two franchises played remains one of the most difficult to explain, if not comprehend. Houston's first-year franchise visited Heinz Field on Dec. 8, 2002 and got out-gained, 422-47, yet still walked out with a 24-6 victory. The Texans scored their touchdowns on a fumble return and two pick-sixes, three of five Steelers turnovers on the afternoon. Houston QB David Carr was 3-for-10 passing for 33 yards in his winning effort.

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