Note: If you're looking for the 2013 Week 1 matchup between these two teams, please go here: Houston Texans vs. San Diego Chargers Pick.
San Diego Chargers (3-5 SU, 3-5 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (4-3 SU, 3-4 ATS), 1:00 pm EST, NFL Week 9, November 7, 2010, Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas
By Scotty L of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: SD -1.5/Hou +1.5
Over/Under Total: 50
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On Sunday, the resurgent San Diego Chargers travel to the Lone Star State to take on the Houston Texans . The Chargers stopped a bad run last week with a win and cover over Tennessee. The Texans lost on Monday, but had a bye-week before that, so they should be okay for Sunday.
With a win on Sunday, the Chargers can get to 4-5 and breathe some life back into their sagging playoff prospects. It wasn’t easy against the Titans, as turnovers, a slapstick special teams crew, and a lack of defensive clutch play always manage to keep this team grounded despite a high-flying pass attack. Philip Rivers continue to rack up the numbers in the NFL’s top-ranked offense, but it’s like pouring sand into a bag with holes in it.
The Chargers finally seemed to be getting it together on Sunday. After a rough start, including a blocked punt for a safety, the Chargers fell behind 19-7. With their season on the line, they responded with 20-0 run to jump ahead. The Chargers had momentum on their side and looked like they were going to finally “finish.” Then, blown coverage led to a 71-yard pass connection from Vince Young to Nate Washington.
With the score 27-25, the Chargers answered with a touchdown. It should have been a two-possession game late, but the Chargers muffed the extra point attempt, as the holder bungled the hold. That would have made it a 9-point lead, but as is the Chargers’ wont—they gave hope to their opponent. With time running out and Vince Young injured, Kerry Collins gave Chargers fans a little sweat, but their touchdown drive stalled out in the red zone and the Chargers finally caught a break. When the Titans started converting 4th downs on that last drive, the Chargers were surely thinking, “here we go again.”
Despite their red-zone stand on Sunday, you wouldn’t necessarily think the Chargers “D” is the top-ranked unit in the NFL by watching them play. A defense has a chance to prove its worth in certain key spots during the game, whether it means getting a turnover, a key 3rd down stop, or getting a “three-and-out” when behind with time running low. In those situations, it doesn’t seem like the San Diego “D” has done very well. In addition and even more alarming is the special teams situation. We are now at the midway point of the season and the Chargers still look like the 3 Stooges on everything from punts, place kicks, and kickoffs. Fans, players, and coaches hold their collective breath as the routine is turned into adventure.
Houston has continued to see excellent play from its quarterback, as well as an underrated receiving crew headed by Andre Johnson. (Keep an eye on Johnson's status as he was hobbled with a bum ankle on MNF) The emergence of a featured back has given this offense greater versatility. Arian Foster has filled the bill, emerging as a top running back this season—2nd in the league in rushing. He is tough and has good vision and will continue to give defenses fits for the remainder of this campaign. Head coach Gary Kubiak gives off the impression of a winner. All those years in Denver standing next to Dan Reeves and Mike Shanahan rubbed off on the guy. He knows what it’s like to be on a long-suffering team that suddenly becomes successful. His leadership should allow the Texans to seamlessly transition into a quality NFL team.
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The Houston defense played well in spots against Indy at home on Monday Night Football, but couldn’t sustain it enough to keep the Colts down for long. Despite some key personnel losses, the Colts were really clicking and even though it wasn’t a good result, the Texans will be at home this week against a Chargers team that has shown itself to be almost laughable on the road this season.
Scotty L’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: At what point do we begin factoring in San Diego’s atrocious special teams play into the analysis? When it happens in every game, you have to almost count on it. Just figure the Texans will be given anywhere from 3 to 14 points. That doesn’t mean the Chargers won’t be able to move the ball. They will and they might be moving up and down the field at times. Again, special teams play, blown coverage, and a red-zone turnover will keep the Chargers from running away with it.
If you watched MNF you saw Peyton Manning absolutely exploit the living daylights out of the Houston secondary. What's even more fascinating is that the Texans knew it was coming and still couldn't stop it. As crazy as it sounds, Philip Rivers is even more dangerous of a matchup for the Houston D. The Chargers will win this game by 7+.
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