NFL Picks Week 7: Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans

Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
Sunday, 10/23/11, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  Tennessee -3
Current Betting Line:  Tennessee -3
Opening Total:  43
Current Total:  44
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Tennessee Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck is enjoying a great start to the 2011 season

Houston is 3-3 on the season and in jeopardy of dropping below .500 for the first time this season, coming in on a two-game losing streak, including a 29-14 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens as seven-point road underdogs last week.  The Texans surrendered 402 yards in that particular loss, playing without star defensive end Mario Williams, who is out for the rest of the year with a torn pectoral injury.  Houston is 31-16 ATS after suffering two or more consecutive losses, but 0-2 ATS as an underdog this year.

The Texans are 2-7 all-time in Nashville and last came away with a victory in September 2009.  “This is one of those games that’s big for both teams,” commented Texans offensive tackle Eric Winston.  “It’s definitely one that you circle.”  Offensively, the team will be without the services of Andre Johnson, who will be missing his third consecutive game.  It’s had more of an affect on the running game than anything else, as the team has gained 163 combined yards in its last two efforts, but still averages 126.2 yards a contest.

Tennessee had its three-game winning streak snapped by the Pittsburgh Steelers before going into its bye week, suffering a 38-17 loss as three-point road underdogs.  The Titans have actually been out-gained by a combined 209 yards over their past two games.  “It’s early.  We all know that,” commented Titans first-year coach Mike Munchak.  “This game is huge for us to come out and play well against a division opponent at home.”  The defense has been solid, ranking sixth in the NFL in points allowed and eighth in total yards per contest.  Tennessee is 0-2 ATS as a favorite this year.

The Titans have gotten plenty out of veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who is enjoying the best start of his career through five games, throwing for 1,414 passing yards and nine touchdowns.  He ranks sixth in the NFL and second in the NFL with a passer rating of 95.9.  In 18 games, Tennessee is 13-5 against Houston, including a 7-2 mark at LP Field.  The teams have split the series in the last three seasons.  Running back Chris Johnson had an interesting series against Houston last year, gaining five years on seven carries in Houston, bouncing back with 130 yards and a touchdown in a 31-17 home win on Dec. 19.

Bettors will likely back the Titans due to their 17-7-1 ATS mark as a home favorite of a field goal or less, while the Texans are 0-4 ATS as a road underdog.

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