Before we get into this article, I would like to say my thoughts go out to the family of Steelers backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who was sadly killed in a tragic accident in early April. I do think it is very kind that the Steelers will honor him by putting a #3 sticker on everyone’s helmet.
Welcome to the final 2022 edition of ‘The Super Bowl Race in the Perspective of Chase’, an almost daily article on your favorite NFL team. This is the final edition of this series for 2022. So why not end it off with two teams…that are two very opposite positions! The Steelers have made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, but after a Steelers legend retirement, they aren’t a playoff contending team. The Texans on the other hand have missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons, with Deshaun Watson or not. And with Watson’s drama out of the way, the Texans can fully focus in on their rebuild. What will both teams do? Let’s, get into this!
Before we get into this I would like to let you know that we are doing something very similar to this on the Cool Sports Newsletter for the NBA if you want to check that out. Also on there we are ranking different NFL positions. We have finished, as we have now ranked running backs, wide receivers and quarterbacks if you want to check that out.
The Pittsburgh Steelers were 11-0 in the middle of 2020, but a late season collapse still won them the division with a 12-4 record, but they were clearly declining. They lost the division rival Cleveland Browns in the Wild Card round, in what was a blowout in Pittsburgh. In 2021, the Steelers were an average, inconsistent football team that had fans like Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Clark scream like maniacs on national television! They ended up squeaking into the playoffs with a 9-7-1 record, due to T.J. Watt’s near record breaking defensive season, but got absolutely obliterated by Kansas City in the Wild Card round. But as expected, Ben Roethlisberger announced his retirement shortly after the loss, as the Steelers were ready to finally find a knew quarterback.
The Houston Texans have been a disgrace of gargantuan proportions since trading DeAndre Hopkins for David Johnson and picks. They went 4-12 in 2020 despite Deshaun Watson leading the NFL in passing yards and a bunch of advanced statistics. In the offseason, Watson said he wanted out of Houston, but his value plummeted once he was accused of sexual assault. He ended up not getting traded and sat out the 2021 season, as Tyrod Taylor was taking over quarterback duties. But an injury in Week 2 meant 3rd round rookie Davis Mills would take over at starting quarterback. And in 11 games started, he played decent, putting up 2,664 passing yards with a 66.8% completion percentage, 16 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions! Despite this, the Texans went 4-13, and had the 3rd pick in the draft.
In the draft, that was where both of these teams made a very impactful move. The Texans selected LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. 3rd overall to improve the secondary. This a great pick and Stingley is one of the best players in this draft class. At #15, Houston selected Texas A&M guard Kenyon Green. Green is one of the most underrated and under appreciated players from this draft, despite an amazing talent to have a great career. At #37, Houston selected one of the more underrated safeties, Baylor’s Jalen Petri and with the 44th pick, they selected John Metchie III, one of Alabama’s best offensive weapons in 2021. Sadly, Metchie will probably not be able to participate in 2022, as he will be recovering from leukemia. I pray he recovers well, as I would hate to see anyone in that situation.
Also, in the 4th round, Houston selected Dameon Pierce, and after a strong training camp and preseason, has won the starting running back spot in Houston.
Pittsburgh on the other didn’t have as many picks, but maybe even a more notable and interesting draft. As 20th overall, Pittsburgh found what they hope to be their Big Ben replacement, as they selected Pittsburgh. QB Kenny Pickett! Some people say it is a reach, since most of the other quarterbacks went around the 3rd-4th round, and the fact that the difference between all of these quarterbacks is very slim. But at the same time, Pittsburgh needed a quarterback and Pickett was amazing in college for Pittsburgh! In the 2nd round, Pittsburgh selected George Pickens, who after an insane training camp, is projected to be one of the top wide receivers from this class!
In the free agency, both teams were more quiet. The Steelers were able to pick up Larry Ogunjobi however which in my opinion is a very underrated signing. Ogunjobi is coming off of a 7.5 sack season with Cincinnati, after having two consecutive 5.5 sack seasons with Cleveland in 2018 and 2019. Even though he has been flipping around the AFC North, that is a very underrated upgrade from Pittsburgh. There was only other big move contractually if you want to call it that, was signing wide receiver Diontae Johnson to a 2 year deal worth over $36 million. Johnson is coming off of a season where he had over 1,100 receiving yards at just 26 years old, and could have a very good NFL career. Pittsburgh also signed former Pro Bowl quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, giving Pickett competition for the starting spot. Pittsburgh on the other hand did lose JuJu Smith-Schuster to Kansas City, giving them less wide receiver depth.
The Texans didn’t make any big moves in the free agency market either. In fact, they really didn’t make any moves. Just kept the same roster that won just four games last season.
Both of these teams are in two different directions. Mitchell Trubisky has won the starting quarterback spot over Pickett, put Pickett should come in at some point. But when? Well, I expect, and most expect, around Week 5, before their bye week in Week 9. For Houston, Mills will stay the starting quarterback as they will probably be on the worst teams in the NFL that rewards them a top draft pick, and a chance at a possible franchise quarterback (if they most likely move on from Davis Mills).
I just want to say thank you for those who have stuck with my for the past month and half on this ‘Super Bowl Race in the Perspective of Chase’ series. You have no idea how much time and effort I put into these articles so I would like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this entire journey and I’m looking forward for a fun NFL season here over at Chase’s Sports News. But I would also like to announce that on the Cool Sports Newsletter, we are going to be talking a lot about the Baltimore Ravens on a series called “Ravens Reacts”. That will be posted on the Cool Sports Newsletter so stayed tuned for that as well! Thank you all!
My prediction: The Steelers have their first under .500 season ever under head coach Mike Tomlin, going 8-9, while Houston finishes just 2-15, tied for the worst record in the NFL and being awarded the 2nd pick, where they will have a chance at either Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud as a future franchise QB!
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