NFL Game Previews: Breaking Down the Christmas Games
NFL Game Previews: Breaking Down the Christmas Games

This article is part of our NFL Game Previews series.

Pittsburgh at Houston (+9), 45.0 o/u – Monday, 4:30 p.m. EST

The Story: The NFL's infuriatingly byzantine catch rules are such a joke that it barely makes a ripple in the news any more when they result in a call that could potentially decide the top seed in the AFC playoffs. The worst part of Jesse James' non-touchdown last week, at least for me, was that the exact same play would have been ruled a score if the pass had been thrown to Le'Veon Bell behind the line of scrimmage (making it a running play, which means it's a TD as soon as the ball scrapes the goal lone) as opposed to it being a forward pass to James (making it subject to "completing the process of the catch" nonsense, even in the end zone). The Steelers now have to deal with the loss of Antonio Brown as well as a possible road game in Foxboro to get to the Super Bowl, but at least they get a great opponent to test run their new target tree against. The Texans' defense is a mess, and when QBs like Bortles and Garoppolo are torching you, it's fair to be worried about what kind of numbers Ben Roethlisberger will post against you, even without his favorite downfield option. As for the Houston offense? Well, Deshaun Watson still leads the team in passing yards, and he only played six and a half games this year.

The Skinny:
2017 PIT

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Siegrist
Erik Siegrist is an FSWA award-winning columnist who covers all four major North American sports (that means the NHL, not NASCAR) and whose beat extends back to the days when the Nationals were the Expos and the Thunder were the Sonics. He was the inaugural champion of Rotowire's Staff Keeper baseball league. His work has also appeared at Baseball Prospectus.
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Mario Mock
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