The Houston Texans are on bye this week. A miserable season with more than enough misfires has atleast allowed fans to laugh during the 1-8 campaign. However, this week everyone in Houston can exhale. It’s impossible for the Texans to lose this week.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to watch for on this particular NFL Sunday. Specifically, a new development on Saturday evening has brought an entirely new set of intrigue to today’s cast of games.
Houston, at 1-8, would currently pick No. 2 overall. Having their own selections and set to be all great ones is a great change of tempo for the Bill O’Brien campaign. That doesn’t mean everyone in Houston doesn’t want their awful franchise to have the rights to whoever leaves college football as the best NFL prospect this season.
Enter the dreadful 0-8 Detroit Lions. Their ineptitude seems to match Houston this year, although national support for head coach Dan Campbell far surpasses that of David Culley. Nobody was expecting this Sunday to be any different for the Lions as they enter a contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a sound AFC playoff contender with more than enough veteran leadership to overcome the Lions.
Then, Saturday night Ian Rapoport broke a big story. Ben Roethlisberger is out for Sunday’s contest due to contracting COVID-19.
The Steelers’ offense is already one of the most anemic in the league even with the veteran leadership of Roethlisberger. They currently rank 25th out of 32 teams in total offense per game and are 28th in the NFL in rushing yards per game. Big Ben is a huge part of their game plan every week and they depend on his decision making to get the ball to their electric wide receiving corps and hopefully create favorable boxes for rookie phenomenon Najee Harris.
In Roethlisberger’s’ absence, fourth-year quarterback Mason Rudolph will start. Many may remember Rudolph from his excellent career with the Oklahoma State Cowboys. However, since then Rudolph has not panned out in the succession plan many were optimistic of when he was selected near the top of third round in 2018.
Rudolph has a record of 5-4 as a starter with a career 61% completion and 15 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. Needless to say, despite his old age, this represents a marked step down from Big Ben. His appearance under center for Pittsburgh represents new hope in Houston:
The Lions may just win a game.
A notorious Steelers team that often plays down to their competition is featuring a below average NFL quarterback against a Detroit team hunting their first win. It may be just the recipe for Houston to tie Detroit in the hunt for the NFL’s elusive No. 1 selection.
There may not be a quarterback (yet) worth selecting first overall but having their pick of the lot between Kayvon Thibideaux from Oregon, Derek Stingley Jr. from LSU and all the quarterbacks would be a luxurious start to what will be a long rebuild for Houston.
Achieving a worse record than Detroit is the first step and one Houston fans should be cheering for on Sunday. Hopefully, Dan Campbell’s squad comes out ready to pounce on an unprepared Mason Rudolph.