NFL Week 1 Predictions: Houston Texans vs. San Diego Chargers

Houston Texans vs. San Diego Chargers
Monday, 9/8/13, 10:20 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  Houston -2.5
Current Betting Line:  Houston -3.5
Opening Total:  44.5
Current Total:  44.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster has carried a heavy load over the past three seasons
Houston Texans RB Arian Foster has carried a heavy load over the past three seasons

Houston has established a goal of representing the AFC in this year’s Super Bowl, as it comes off a 12-4 campaign a season ago.  “I think it’s obviously our main goal and final goal, but there are a lot of steps that lead up to that,” commented Texans linebacker Brian Cushing.  The Texans certainly have one of the more formidable defenses in the league, with Cushing being the captain and defensive linemen J.J. Watt registering an NFL-leading 20.5 sacks in 2012.  Houston is 6-1 SUATS in September the last two-plus seasons, which can’t be ignored when making your NFL expert picks Monday night.

The Texans are definitely concerned with the health of running back Arian Foster, who didn’t suit up in any of the team’s four preseason games, as he continues to deal with back and calf injuries.  Houston head coach Gary Kubiak has stated that backup Ben Tate will likely share the load in the backfield.  Foster’s 956 carries over the last three seasons are 99 more than any other player, which means that quarterback Matt Schaub and wide receiver Andre Johnson will need to open up the passing game a bit more.

San Diego has a 4-0 all-time record in this series, as it begins life under first-year head coach Mike McCoy, who takes over for the departed Norv Turner.  The Chargers are expected to focus on short and intermediate routes in a new system, which will lessen the pressure on a struggling offensive line to protect quarterback Philip Rivers.  “I think we need to play better around him,” stated McCoy about the unit’s performance around Rivers.  Running back Ryan Mathews is capable of a breakout year if he stays healthy, which is important to consider when looking over the NFL betting lines in Week 1.

The Chargers will focus on stopping the run on the defensive end, something that coordinator John Pagano has been very vocal about during training camp.  San Diego has a lot of new faces on that side of the football, but will likely not have rookie linebacker Manti Te’o on the field, as he deals with a foot injury.

Sports bettors will likely back the Chargers due to their 4-0 ATS mark in this series.

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