Thursday Night Football - Texans @ Cincinnati Snoozfest
During the pre-season, Erin Andrews told Andy Dalton he had the best hair in the biz…that
obviously went to his head considering his performance in Week 1. Dalton put up an impressive 16-31 170yd, four picks, fumble, sacked 5 times, 28.4 passer rating performance. The Red Rifle was more of a ginger peashooter last Sunday! Let’s not forget that there are major QB play issues on the other side. The Texans were so sure about Tom Savage as their starter that they pulled him at halftime of their week 1 game. It’s hard to evaluate QB play when Sacksonville is laying down 10 sacks, but Deshaun Watson’s debut was also shaky at best. Both teams QB/O-Line combinations played like absolute garbage, setting the stage this week for what should be a shit show of epic proportion.
You may remember the 12-10 Week 16 barnburner last year in which we saw the Texans pull out a win after the miss of Mr. Sure Foot, Randall (Randy) Bullock. This was one of the most painful football games to watch last season and we expect more of the same this time around. All of that being said, there is significant value from the system in taking the 6.5 points for the road dawg Texans tonight. There is a ton of noise in the data for both teams, so we are going to demote this one into the YellowZone and back off our bet size based on our reduced percentage expectation for success.
These are two teams that are having offensive identity issues behind struggling QB play, so defense will likely be the deciding factor of this game. The Texans still sport a strong front 7, but just yesterday we were informed that Brian Cushing has been suspended for drinking too many lattes (https://youtu.be/LlGLDn7DXM0) and dipping into his wife's fertility drugs again. This leaves a void in the middle against a Cincy team that will likely look to establish the ground game early considering the play of Dalton last week. The Texans will start a rookie out of Vandy in his spot, but we don't see this defense struggling that much against an offense that is in absolute SHAMBLES up front. Last year, without JJ Watt for the majority of the season, the Texans still were a top 5-ish defense. Losing your starting MLB is never fun, but when you have the depth and disgusting front 7 the Texans do, you can afford to lose a guy here or there. Watt, Clowney and Mercilus have to be licking their chops waiting to get after that Cincy line tonight so we aren't too worried about no Cushing for this one.
Speaking of ground game, the Texans have 5 players in concussion protocol, 3 of those 5 are their Tight Ends (how is that even possible?), meaning they’ll have to run the spread the whole time? I’m not a professional O-coordinator but that leaves you WRs, RBs, and FBs or you play heavy unbalanced and run the ball off double tackle. What a mess! The good news is they have a young nimble QB who excels out of the gun and running around making plays. I fully expect to see this and you may see some creativity due to the glaring holes in the TE spot this week. All they need to do is get in field goal territory and hope for a few defensive takeaways to give them a pulse and a chance. As bad as the Cincy offense should perform against the Houston D, a couple field goals and just NOT turning the ball over is probably all the Texans will need to avoid losing by 7. Watson was a big time player at Clemson, not necessarily in production, but in doing enough to get Ws. If he can stay within himself and let the defense do the talking, the Texans could take this one outright on the ML.
There are a lot of unknowns in this one. We don’t love it because of said noise, but we are going to roll with the defensively superior Texans getting 6.5 points for 2.75 Units. Last week, 4-2-1....+11.5 Units