NFL Sunday Predictions - Week 1
by Josh Nagel - 9/10/2009
Game: New York Jets (9-7 last season) at Houston Texans (8-8 last season)
Spread: Texans -4.5
Overview: Patience might be the central theme of this Week 1 contest. One club, the Houston Texans, is running out of it, while the other, the New York Jets, might have to exercise some as a rebuilding team.
Get $60 in FREE Member Picks
Although the Texans have improved under the watch of coach Gary Kubiak, he has failed to bring them a playoff berth, let alone a winning season, in his three years at the helm. They had to win five of their last six last season to salvage an 8-8 mark. Speculation in the local media suggests Kubiak will have to lead the team to a postseason berth this year in order to be invited back for a fifth year.
This doesn't appear to be asking too much. Talent-wise, this appears to be a club capable of much better than an 8-8 mark. At times, the Texans play like a playoff-caliber club; other times, they are maddeningly inconsistent and look like an expansion franchise still trying to find its way.
The health of quarterback Matt Schaub will be a key. The injury-prone signal-caller injured his ankle while making a seemingly harmless run out of bounds in the preseason against the Minnesota Vikings. Schaub has to stay on the field for Houston's play-action passing game to be effective.
If he does, Houston has more than enough weapons around him. Running back Steve Slaton is turning into a star and looking like the steal of last year's draft, while Andre Johnson is regarded as an elite NFL wide receiver.
Houston must improve a defense that ranked No. 23 last year at 24.6 points per game allowed. It also has solid personnel on this side of the ball, with former No. 1 overall draft pick Mario Williams emerging as a stalwart defensive end, and linebacker DeMeco Ryans is turning into of the league's better and most underrated linebackers.
The Jets, on the other hand, might be in rebuilding mode after the Brett Favre experiment didn't work and former coach Eric Mangini was sent packing at the end of last season.
They will send a rookie behind center in Mark Sanchez and a rookie head coach in Rex Ryan to the sidelines. Although the rookie coach-quarterback combination worked twice last year with the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens, there's a decent chance Sanchez and Ryan might both struggle amid the bright lights and intense media pressure of New York.
Sanchez has less college experience and a weaker running game than Atlanta's Matt Ryan and Baltimore's Joe Flacco enjoyed last year.
Teams are likely to stack the line of scrimmage against the Jets and force Sanchez to beat them. It says here the rookie quarterback won't be able to do it, at least not right away.
Ryan is a good enough defensive mind, and the Jets have good enough personnel on that side of the ball, that New York's defense likely will keep most games competitive, and there's a chance this one could be close if the Jets can force a couple of turnovers and establish a running game.
Upon completion of this NFL feature view Doc's NFL draft tie breakers page. Our NFL sleeper picks page is also a valuable tool for your NFL research. Our NFL Schedule Strength page is also must read when studding the NFL. For more NFL articles and free picks visit our homepage and view the "Doc's Daily Medicine" section.
However, don't be surprised if Sanchez has a rough debut and commits a couple of turnovers of his own. If Schaub and the Texans can cash in, bettors will be cashing at the cage.
Trends: The Jets are 6-1 ATS in their last seven as a road underdog; the Texans are 6-1 ATS overall in their past seven.
Pick: Texans -4.5.
Most Recent NFL Sunday Prediction Articles
- Texans at Patriots Picks and NFL Betting Odds
- Cowboys at Redskins Picks
- Week 17 NFL Teasers Advice: Best Three for Basic Strategy Teases
- NFL Week 17 Player Props Odds and Betting Picks
- NFL Picks: Bears at Lions
- NFL Picks: Packers at Vikings
- Weekly Philadelphia Eagles Betting Picks: Week 17 vs. Giants
- NFL Totals Betting: Week 17 Over and Under Predictions
- Week 16 NFL Teasers Advice: Best Three for Basic Strategy Teases
- NFL Week 16 Player Props, Leaders Odds and Betting Picks