Before deciding how to place our NFL picks for Saturday's preseason match between Giants vs. Texans, we weigh each team's pros and cons, inspecting factors like advantages at head coach, quarterback & more!
The San Francisco 49ers had the worst offseason in the NFL by a large margin. The team dealt with all sorts of roster losses, either due to retirements or disciplinary issues. The team also starts a new era with a new coach, trying to return to the standards that were in place just a few short years ago. The Houston Texans were surprisingly good in 2014, staying in the playoff hunt through the final day of the regular season. Can the Texans take that next step and reach the playoffs this year?
What We Know About The Coaches
San Francisco coach Jim Tomsula will be coaching his first preseason game, taking over from Jim Harbaugh, who led the Niners to three straight NFC Championship Game berths before last season fell apart. He’s probably not going to handle this game very well, even though it doesn’t mean all that much for the team, which is just trying to get a handle on its situation after a tumultuous offseason.
Houston coach Bill O’Brien is 2-2 in his one preseason as Texans coach and as an NFL head coach. He seems to have a good idea of what to do in Houston, and he clearly gives the Texans an edge in this category.
Read Another Capper's Contrary NFL Pick: Niners +3
The 49ers will start Colin Kaepernick, who needs to regain confidence but doesn’t need to be overworked just yet. The first preseason game remains a time for the second and third stringers, so Blaine Gabbert and Dylan Thompson should see a lot of snaps for San Francisco.
For Houston, Brian Hoyer needs work as well, but he’ll share snaps with second-string quarterback Ryan Mallett and third-string guy Tom Savage. Overall, Houston has better second and third guys.
Team Depth & Rotations
The Niners have some needs on the first string with all the players they lost last season. They’re going to be bunched up in the second and third strings, trying to find players who can move up the depth chart and challenge the guys in the front of the depth chart for either starting spots or second-string spots when the season starts. Wide receivers Dres Anderson and Bruce Ellington are injured, meaning more playing time for Quinton Patton and Jerome Simpson, among others. This should be a slight downgrade for the Niners at that position. Kendall Hunter is a solid running back who is injured, meaning more action for Mike Davis, a rookie from South Carolina. Daniel Kilgore is injured at center, pushing Joe Looney into the position.
The Niners, having lost Chris Borland, Patrick Willis, Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, Frank Gore, and a number of other big-name players, are a real question mark at so many places.
Houston’s offense is clearly the area of need for this team. Jonathan Grimes as backup running back, Chris Polk in the third-string spot, and tight ends C.J. Fiedorowicz (second string) and Ryan Griffin (third string) all need a lot of evaluation. The defense has no real issues at this time.
Outlook & Pick
The Texans have solid advantages at head coach and quarterback. They look like the clear choice for NFL picks today, even though this is a preseason game and not a regular season game.
NFL Pick: Texans -3 at Bodog