Texans Looking to Rebound From 2013 Nightmare
By William Lewis
Things could not have been any worse for the Houston Texans last season. This was a team that looked like it had all the elements to be a bona fide Super Bowl contender, including a nasty defense and newfound balance at the wide receiver position. But after winning their first two games of the year, Houston did nothing but lose from that point forward, and with their 2-14 record, they got the #1 choice in the draft. That’s not where they wanted to be, but after some changes, including naming a new head coach, they will try to start fresh as they go up against the Arizona Cardinals in NFL betting action set to begin at 8:30 PM ET on Saturday night at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ.
With that top selection, the Texans selected Jadeveon Clowney out of South Carolina, and on paper, they look like a team that can be very difficult to deal with on defense. To spruce up the offense, owner Bob McNair hired a new coach in Bill O’Brien, who has been an assistant with the New England Patriots and had the unenviable task of following Joe Paterno at Penn State in the aftermath of that program’s scandal.
There is also a new quarterback, as Matt Schaub was sent packing.
Arizona had the misfortune of being part of an NFC playoff race where there were many strong contenders, and as a result, their 10-6 record was not good enough to get them into the playoffs. But there was no question about the fact that Bruce Arians, in his first season as head coach of the team, made quite a difference.
In the NFL betting lines posted by the people at VietBet the Cardinals are slightly favored in this game:
Arizona Cardinals -1.5
Houston Texans +1.5
Over 38 Points -110
Under 38 Points -110
Gary Kubiak had clearly worn out his welcome in Houston, and to add insult to injury, during one of those 14 consecutive losses he suffered a mini-stroke. This team contemplated what to do with the top pick, but decided to bypass a quarterback, despite a lot of pressure to draft Johnny Manziel, and went with Clowney, who is one of those super-athletes who could be a real game changer, but has an attitude that not everyone is sold on. At quarterback this team will go with Ivy leaguer Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had shown some capability in his previous stints with the Buffalo Bills and the Tennessee Titans.
But this year’s “quarterback of the future” might be Tom Savage, who was taken in the fourth round out of Pittsburgh after transferring from Rutgers, where he had been a much ballyhooed recruit. People analyzing the NFL betting lines on this game want to take note that neither Andre Johnson nor Arian Foster will see action with the first team in this game, although that will have no bearing on what happens when Savage gets in there. He has skills, but has often looked like a deer in the headlights, and there is doubt about his ability to escape a pass rush.
There is another guy who will be rather “raw” at the QB spot in this game. Bettors who have been watching the Cardinals know that Carson Palmer earned himself a least one more season at the helm, but Arians would really like to see what Logan Thomas is capable of doing. He is 6′ 6″ with a big arm, but this Virginia Tech product can be very erratic, to the point where some suggested he might fit in better as a tight end in the league. It is fair to say that he is a “project,” and often those guys have a rough go of it when facing an NFL defense for the first time. naturally, that could apply to Savage as well, making this an interesting handicapping proposition.