The Houston Texans head into their Week 3 tilt with the defending champion New England Patriots still beat up, but going in with a win is much more satisfying than 0-2. Houston turned the offense over to Deshaun Watson for Thursday’s game with Cincinnati, and while he wasn’t scintillating in his first NFL start, he made one play that provided the Texans with enough to beat the punchless Bengals.
Watson was handed the starting role because he is more mobile than Tom Savage. And with an offensive line that remains a mystery, he’ll be scrambling for his safety the rest of the season. Watson is a playmaker and he’ll be expected to do that with a line that’s a wreck, three tight ends in concussion protocol and a shortened list of receivers. How the Texans beat the Bengals with the roster they had borders on miraculous. Watson accounted for the only touchdown last week with a nifty 49-yard scramble and he’ll be tasked with doing more of the same against the Pats.
Houston’s defense came to play last week, keeping the Bengals out of the end zone and holding them to fewer than 300 total yards. The group was strong all game and tightened in the red zone, limiting the Bengals to three field goals. It was an improvement over the opener when the Texans allowed 29 points to the Jaguars and didn’t record a sack. They got three last week and constantly pressured Andy Dalton. The group will need to be on top of its game against the Pats and Tom Brady, who’s coming off a huge game against the Saints.
2017 Record: 1-1
2017 ATS Record: 1-1
2017 Over/Under Total Record: 0-2
Current Super Bowl Odds: +4000
Current Odds to Win AFC: +2000
Current Odds to Win AFC South: +245
Current NFL Odds: Texans +12
Over/Under Total: 44
Week 2: Texans 13, Bengals 9
ATS Result: Texans +5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 38
It was far from a work of art, but the Texans got a win and that’s all that mattered. The team was shorthanded, particularly on offense with injuries to two tight ends and just three receivers playing. That made the use of Watson a key in the offensive game plan and he provided the biggest play, scoring the only touchdown on a 49-yard scramble. The defense did the rest, holding the Bengals without a touchdown to get the cover win. Points were scarce and Houston played below the total for a second time.
Week 1: Jaguars 29, Texans 7
ATS Result: Jaguars -5.5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 38
The Texans trailed by 19 points at halftime and were never in the contest. They failed to cover the 5.5-point spread and, despite a low total, their lack of offense allowed the under to cash. The offense will be a point of emphasis moving forward and O’Brien was quick to yank Savage in the opener. Giving up 10 sacks and committing four turnovers isn’t going to win many football games and the Texans have firsthand experience.
Preseason Record: 1-2
ATS Record: 1-2
Over/Under Total Record: 2-1
While the Texans have struggled to manufacture wins outside of division play, they’ve owned the AFC South the last two seasons, allowing them to capture back-to-back division titles. Houston went 5-1 against AFC South competition last year with the only loss coming in the season finale after the title had already been secured. They also went 5-1 the year before and are 8-3-1 ATS against their division foes over the past two years.
Week 1: Texans vs. Jaguars, Sunday, September 10, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 2: Texans at Bengals, Thursday, September 14, 8:25 p.m. ET – NFL Network
Week 3: Texans at Patriots, Sunday, September 24, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 4: Texans vs. Titans, Sunday, October 1, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 5: Texans vs. Chiefs, Sunday, October 8, 8:30 p.m. ET – NBC
Week 6: Texans vs. Browns, Sunday, October 15, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 7: Bye Week
Week 8: Texans at Seahawks, Sunday, October 29, 4:05 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 9: Texans vs. Colts, Sunday, November 5, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 10: Texans at Rams, Sunday, November 12, 4:05 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 11: Texans vs. Cardinals, Sunday, November 19, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 12: Texans at Ravens, Monday, November 27, 8:30 p.m. ET – ESPN
Week 13: Texans at Titans, Sunday, December 3, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 14: Texans vs. 49ers, Sunday, December 10, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 15: Texans at Jaguars, Sunday, December 17, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 16: Texans vs. Steelers, Monday, December 25, 4:30 p.m. ET – NBC
Week 17: Texans at Colts, Sunday, December 31, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
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