• Brian L. Barefield

No Happy Family Reunion: Tytus Howard hopes his teammate is the only successful Watt on Sunday.

Photo Credit/Houston Texans

Anytime you hear the last name Watt mentioned in the city of Houston, you automatically think of the Three-Time Defensive Player of the Year who is for sure to be a unanimous first ballot Hall of Fame inductee when his name comes up. Justin James or as most people call him, “J.J.” has stitched his name into every die-hard fan’s brain from the inner-city to the suburbs. No way you can mention the Houston Texans and not automatically think of Five-Time First Team All-Pro J.J. Watt.

But on Sunday, there will be another Watt on the field for the opposing team who is looking to cause havoc on the Texans all the while trying to get out of his brother’s shadow. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt has made a name for himself in the three seasons he has been in the NFL by being ranked the highest-graded edge rusher in 2019 by Pro Football Focus with a grade of 91.3. That was 2.3 points higher than J.J. He has continued that level of dominance this season as he has also won PFF’s award for two consecutive weeks in this young NFL season by leading the league in sacks with 2.5. Watt is very dominate at Heinz Field where he has recorded 15 sacks in the last 11 home games.

Photo Credit/ Pittsburgh Steelers

Houston (0-2) will be looking to secure its first win of the season as Pittsburgh (2-0) will try to keep their undefeated streak alive and continue their quest to get back into the playoffs, a place that has eluded them the last two seasons.

Where this matchup between the Steelers and the Texans gets interesting is not from a Watt family reunion standpoint (Derek Watt also plays for the Steelers), but from a matchup that has many local sports media personalities intrigued. Watt will lineup the majority of the game against Houston’s second-year offensive tackle Tytus Howard. The former first-round pick in 2019 will be playing in just his 10th NFL game of his career as he had his rookie season cut short last season due to injury and only played in eight games.

With no preseason due to COVID-19 NFL safety protocols to help him get acclimated to the speed of the game, Howard has struggled at times to maintain the edge in pass blocking situations and that has caused a league-high nine quarterback hurries on superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson. But the 2019 Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team selection has not allowed a sack or a hit on Watson this season from the right tackle position.

The Steelers will look to find ways to get Watt’s experience and bull rush techniques around Howard but standing at 6’5 and weighing in at 322 pounds, that is going to be a difficult task. If Houston is able to win that matchup, they could see a very productive day out of Watson and newly acquired running back David Johnson.

Kickoff is Sunday at noon in Pittsburgh.

Photo Credit/ Houston Texans

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