Chiefs and Texans get to hook up in Houston. Right now the sportsbooks have the NFL Odds at -1 ½ in favor of the Texans, but will their QB situation prevent them from being a solid Week 1 play?
Hard Knocks QB Battle
You know what makes for good television? It’s teams that people can’t figure out. You know what else makes for good TV? A quarterback battle. The Texans have both of those things going for them right now, and their division is such that they could easily make a return to the playoffs this season if they put everything together. They will be featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks, and there is a lot to be had from this team. They still have one of the best running backs in all of football when healthy, they have the best defensive ends and apparent two-way players in the NFL in JJ Watt, and overall their offensive and defensive personnel are solid.
They did lose Andre Johnson to the divisional rival Colts this offseason, but they pilfered another former divisional rival in Cecil Shorts to go along with the emerging Deandre Hopkins. However the one looming question mark for this team is their quarterback battle between newly signed Brian Hoyer, and former third round pick Ryan Mallett, and no matter whar it will likely remain a question mark until the regular season. Hoyer is of course coming off a torn ACL after looking like the answer in Cleveland before the injury, and Mallett is coming off two starts last season where he looked solid in one, and awful in the other. While we still have a ton of time to critique these guys and their offseason throws, when handicapping this game in the summer, I have to believe that Hoyer is going to be the guy to start this game. Hoyer spent some time with Bill O’Brien in their years together in New England. He likely knows the system better than Mallett, and frankly Hoyer is the devil we know, and Mallett is the unknown. Hoyer at least gives the Texans a credible threat from under center, and that can do wonders with a great running back and a great offensive line. In this game against the Chiefs, who have a not-so intimidating defense, this team could be in trouble on the road against this interesting Texans offense. Also, if Hoyer looks good in training camp and the preseason, we could see these NFL odds increase some from the -1 ½ they are sitting at sportsbooks right now, so early value is even more critical for this Week 1 showdown.
The Early Sharp Pick
We aren’t talking about totals just yet, but the under might be the best play for this game, but as for the spread, I am laying the point with the home team. Houston’s defense is going to pour the pressure onto Alex Smith, and the Texans are going to feed KC’s defense a steady diet of Arian Foster all game. Kansas City was the 28th ranked run defense in the entire NFL last season, and guess what they did to correct that in free agency? If you guessed nothing, you win the prize. Kansas City also lost Vance Walker and Joe Mays in free agency, and while they got good value in the draft selecting Ramik Wilson in the 4th round as a run stuffer, he and the Chiefs defense won’t be enough to stop Foster, or a Hoyer-led Texans offense in Week 1. For my early NFL pick, lay the -1 or -1 ½ with the Texans in their home opener.
My Pick: Texans -1 ½ at Pinnacle