NFL Predictions Week 3: Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints

Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints
Sunday, 9/25/11, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  New Orleans -5.5
Current Betting Line:  New Orleans -4
Opening Total:  52.5
Current Total:  53
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Cowboys Saints NFL Preview
New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns last week against the Chicago Bears

Houston has been one of the more impressive teams in the early going of the 2011 season, picking up consecutive wins to start the year against the Indianapolis Colts (34-7) and Miami Dolphins (23-13).  It’s nothing new for the franchise, as its one the opening two games for the third time in five years.  One of the problems for head coach Gary Kubiak during his time in the Lone Star State is continuing to prolong winning streaks.  “We’ve got a lot more poise than last season,” stated Kubiak this week.  “Nobody’s in here jumping around, high-fiving each other.”  The addition of Wade Phillips as the defensive coordinator has provided a major lift, as the unit is ranked first in the NFL.  Houston is 8-8 ATS on the road the last two-plus seasons.

The Texans have always been considered an explosive offense due to a passing game that features quarterback Matt Schaub and wide receiver Andre Johnson, but the running game continues to pick up major yards.  Despite the lingering hamstring injury to Arian Foster, who led the league in rushing yards a year ago, backup Ben Tate has been able to rush for 103 and 116 yards in the first two weeks.  Schaub has been incredibly efficient in completing 71.7 percent of his passes and has a 100.4 quarterback rating.

New Orleans dropped the hammer in a 30-13 win over the Chicago Bears last week as 4.5-point home favorites, as the team desperately needed a win after dropping a 42-34 contest in the season opener to Green Bay.  The Saints are familiar with the Texans due to facing each other in the preseason on Aug. 19, while also playing each other in exhibition play the previous three years.  “To some degree there’s familiarity with the personnel with some players that have been on that team in the last few years,” commented Saints head coach Sean Payton.  The defense played much better last week in giving up just 246 total yards and sacking Bears quarterback Jay Cutler six times.  New Orleans is 18-20 ATS over the last two-plus seasons.

The Saints are still led by talented quarterback Drew Brees, who threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns last week after going for over 400 yards in Week 1.  He lost one of his main targets in Marques Colston, who will be out for a few more weeks with a broken collarbone, but connected with Devery Henderson three times for 103 yards.  New Orleans defense will be tested in the trenches, but ranks seventh in allowing 81.5 yards per game through two weeks.

Bettors will find that the Saints are 7-3 ATS in September, while the Texans are 1-6 ATS as an underdog.

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