Week 1 NFL Picks and Predictions: Washington Redskins vs. Houston Texans

No brace, no brace, so brace yourself.
No brace, no brace, so brace yourself.

Washington Redskins vs. Houston Texans
Time: 1 PM ET, Sept 7, 2014
Spread: HOU -3
Total: 45

Betting Odds courtesy of Bovada

The Washington Redskins finished just 3-13 last season, but even on the road will find itself just 3-point underdogs against the Houston Texans according to NFL oddsmakers at Bovada.

The Redskins are expected to be much improved, and Robert Griffin III is no longer donning the cumbersome knee brace that had robbed him of his explosiveness. The Skins are still listed as long shots to win the NFC at 25/1 on Bovada’s NFL Futures betting, but the team is hoping RG3 can be more of a drop back passer this season. He’ll have a better long ball sans brace.

The Redskins surround Griffin with exceptional receivers in the form of Jackson, Pierre-Garcon, Andre Roberts, Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson. Pierre Garcon had 113 receptions last season, but will see less looks this season. The OL needs to be much improved to help Griffin reduce the wear on his body. The offense is critically wounded when forced right, and it’s problematic for the Redskins diversifying the offensive sets.

The Texans finished with one less win than the Redskins last year at 2-14. Texas had 10 draft selections and made some free agent acquisitions that will for the most part overhaul last year’s team. It’s amazing the fall from grace the Texans suffered after winning back-to-back AFC titles in 2012 and 2013.

Bill O’Brien is taking over as head coach, and the Texans are stuck with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB until rookie Tom Savage is ready to take over. Texas is hoping for some kind of miraculous turnaround from Fitz, but there’s no good reason to expet it given his 21.2 TD/16.5 TD/INT ratio over his career.

The biggest key in Texas returning to any type of competitiveness would be the resurrection of Arian Foster’s career. He’s still only 28 years old, and he’s got another couple years that should theoretically be productive, even following a major back surgery. O’Brien will limit his carries to keep him healthy, which will mean Andre Brown will see more carries (4.1 yards per carry career).

Andre Johnson had a great year last season at WR with 1,407 yards on 109 receptions with five TDs. The Texans may not magically return to 2012-13 form, but it’s probable that the team at least doubles last season’s paltry win total. The +300 odds by Bovada for Houston’s AFC South title chances illustrate the plights of a team that is a longshot to reach .500.  The Texans should be able to take care of business at home, but Griffin and the Skins have enough talent that this could easily be a favorable moneyline in the eyes of some bettors.

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