The Pittsburgh Steelers have been riding an irritating trend thus far this season, having alternated wins and losses through the first six games. Their last game ended in an embarrassing defeat, so if that pattern is to hold, they must win against the Houston Texans on Monday night.
History supports that probability, according to Steelers public relations and media manager Dom Rinelli, who Tweeted last night that Pittsburgh owns the best home record on Monday night in the league, having done 24-5 overall.
Rinelli also Tweeted that they are 7-0 in Heinz Field, a record that does include the Texans on the losing end of the spectrum. The Steelers are 2-2 overall against the Texans on Monday night, so next week is the tie-breaker.
Of course, statistics are merely statistics, a recording of observation that can be used to predict, but not dictate, future results.
Ben Roethlisberger was 18-1 against the Cleveland Browns before losing to them by a score of 31-10 on Sunday.
And a couple of statistical quirks that happen to fall in their favor are certainly not going to be enough to beat the Texans.
There are real issues that need addressing before this team can get back into the win column, such as figuring out what ails them in the red zone, on both offense and defense.
The loss of nose tackle Steve McLendon for the Monday night game will not make things any easier on that front. Cam Thomas simply has not performed very well as a nose tackle this year, and rookie Daniel McCullers has yet to dress for a game.
Meanwhile, cornerback Cortez Allen reverted to his play from earlier this season after putting together two quality performances, which included a pair of interceptions. His playing time is being threatened as a result.
The defense is giving up too many big plays, and the Texans have an offense that can produce them either from the backfield or from their starting wide receivers, so the Steelers will have their hands full there.
The offense has produced a total of 20 points over the last two games, at the same time, though both of those have been on the road. The offense has been more productive at home—averaging 27 points in two games—but the sample size is too small to gain any real meaningful data.
But as has been the theme throughout the season, unless they’re playing a terrible offense, this Steelers defense will need to be supported by Roethlisberger’s offense putting up touchdowns instead of field goals, while hasn’t happened enough.
And if it does happen on Monday, it won’t be because of any trends or statistics.