New York Jets (0-0) vs. Houston Texans (0-0), 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday,
September 13, 2009, Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas, TV: CBS
by Badger of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Jets +4.5/Texans -4.5
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Two AFC teams with questions at quarterback are set to duel in their
season opener Sunday afternoon at Reliant Stadium when the Houston
Texans host the New York Jets.
The Jets have issues because theyve handed control of their fate to first-round draft pick Mark Sanchez, and nobody really knows what the rookie quarterback from USC will play like week-to-week in the NFL.
Houstons dilemma at quarterback is the on-again, off-again health
status of starter Matt Schaub, who is nursing an ankle injury but is
listed as probably on the injury report. Schaub has been injured so
much he hasnt established himself as the franchise-worthy
quarterback in Houston yet, something they desperately need him to do
if the Texans hope to fulfill their playoff aspirations in 2009.
Despite Schaubs status as questionable, the point spread for this
game opened with the Texans as 4.5-point favorites and has held firm,
although there are a few Sportsbooks that have moved the
hook up to Texans -5. The over/under total is listed anywhere from 43
up to 44, but most books list the number at 43.5 currently.
With Schaub in there the Texans are set to field their best offensive
lineup in the franchises history, which is why hopes are high in
Houston. Steve Slaton has emerged as a dynamic playmaker at running
back, and together with Chris Brown who will be seeing action on the goalline this season, the Texans are set to improve the
running game this season.
The lone weakness for the Texans on offense is the lack of a
complement to receiver Andre Johnson. Johnson is a stud and gets his
numbers despite double teams and rolled coverage, but tight end Owen
Daniels is the Texans next best threat and that is something they
have failed to address.
The Jets should be strong enough on offense to give Sanchez an easier
transition, with a solid running game featuring Thomas Jones and Leon
Washington. Jerricho Cotchery seems to have meshed quickly with
Sanchez during preseason, but it remains to be seen if tight end
Dustin Keller will see his numbers drop after being Favres favorite
Defensively the Texans also need to see some major improvement over
last season if they hope to reach the next level, since 22nd in yards
allowed (336.6 ypg) and 27th in points allowed (24.6 ppg) just wont
cut it. They need DeMeco Ryans and Mario Williams to continue to
raise the level of their games to get the unit where it needs to be.
The Jets defense still has a stout front line with Kris Jenkins,
Shaun Ellis and all of the potential in Vernon Gholston as nice
pieces of puzzle. Safety Jim Leonhard was brought in from Baltimore
to try and improve the Jets 29th-ranked secondary against the pass
The Jets have completely owned the series since the Texans have come
into the league, winning all three meetings both straight up and
against the spread, including their last meeting in 2006 in what was
a 26-11 Jets victory as 4.5-point favorites. The only meeting in
Houston at Reliant Stadium between these two teams was back in 2003,
the closest the Texans have ever come to a win in the series, a 19-14
Jets win as 3-point favorites.
All three games in the series have stayed under the total, and all
three of the numbers were lower than the current total of 43.5, so
take that for what its worth.
Badgers Pick: If this is to be the year the Texans breakout and
finish above .500, this is the game where they need to have a coming-
out party. Sanchez meet Mr. Williams and welcome to the NFL.
Houston wins big. Take the Texans minus the 4.5 points.