Houston Texans (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) at Miami Dolphins (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)
Sunday September 18th, 2011. 4:15PM EST, NFL Week 2
Sun Life Stadium Miami, Fl
By Jay Horne, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Hou -3/MIA +3
Over/Under Total: 48
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The Miami Dolphins had an embarrassing Monday night debut last week losing to the New England Patriots 38-24. Patriots QB Tom Brady scorched the Miami defense for a career high 517 passing yards. This week the Dolphins look to rebound when they host another explosive offense by way of the Houston Texans inside Sun Life Stadium. The Texans kicked off their season last week by blowing out a Peytonless Indianapolis Colts team 34-7. Houston actually led 34-0 at the half over the Colts and let their foot off of the gas pedal in the 2nd half. The win definitely filled the notion that the Texans are contenders to make a run at the AFC Title this season and perhaps we will see just how good they are against a solid Miami team on the road this Sunday.
The Texans will bring another deadly passing offense into Sun Life Stadium this Sunday led by QB Matt Schaub. Schaub is definitely not a Tom Brady, but he can definitely take advantage of a weak secondary at the same time. In fact Schaub posted the 4th highest passing yards total in the NFL last season with 4,370 yards through the air. In last weeks win over Indianapolis, Schaub completed 17 of 24 passing for 220 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 picks. Add the treacherous threat of WR Andre Johnson to the mix and Houston has the potential to post another big number against that Miami defense.
However, the Texans have more firepower than just in the passing game. Running back Arian Foster led the NFL with 1,616 rushing yards last season while also posing as the ultimate nightmare against NFL Fantasy defenses. Foster missed the opener against Indianapolis with a hamstring injury and he is questionable again this week. However, backup running back Ben Tate filled in nicely last week, for the missing Foster, by carrying the ball 24 times while racking up 116 yards and a touchdown. Not bad for a guy listed 3rd on the depth chart at the tailback position. Therefore Houston still has guys that can get the job done on the ground, even if Foster cant go this Sunday.
As stated before the huge concern entering this Sunday for Miami will be the passing defense for Miami and questions linger if they will be able to stop a powerful Houston offense. It seems the betting public thinks that Miami will struggle again this week as over 80% of early betting action is favoring the Texans who are currently listed as single point favorites. However, I am not so quick to throw the Dolphins defense under the bus like perhaps the rest of the nation.
Last week the Dolphins defense actually played well in the first half. It was the 2nd half when the defense appeared completely exhausted. In the 2nd half alone, the Dolphins gave up 24 points and 369 total yards. This week the Miami defense will need to stay rested by getting some help off the bench and possibly benefiting from some long drives from the offense. If the defense can stay rested, they will definitely not be any type of pushover.
Another positive note for the Dolphins to take away from last week has to be the play of QB Chad Henne. Henne had a brilliant performance that was overshadowed by Bradys lucrative numbers. However, Henne was stellar himself completing 30 of 49 passing for 416 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. The storyline surrounding Henne in 2010 was inconsistency woes, but he looked very solid against the Patriots last week which should be encouraging for the Miami offense. WR Brandon Marshall is undoubtedly one of the most talented receivers in the NFL. Marshall delivered with 7 catches for 139 yards in last weeks loss and he will have the Texans defense full attention again this week. Just think of how big of a factor Marshall will be in 2011 if Henne stays sharp throwing the football. If that happens again this week, the Dolphins will be a tough team to beat in what will be a bounce back scenario.
Jays Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I expected the total for this game to open too high and that is exactly what happened. Houstons offense put up a lot of points last week, but that may be more of a reflection to the Colts inability to move the chains. Furthermore, the Dolphins allowed some late touchdowns that caused their total to soar high as well. This week I expect a much tougher game for both teams and less offensive fireworks. Take the under 48.
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