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Everyone knew the Houston Texans were going to be good. Everyone knew that the Houston Texans were probably going to not only win the AFC South, but win it in a landslide. What people may not have realized, however, is that the Texans are probably the Super Bowl favorites, and could have the AFC South clinched before we hit the month of November. No matter how you try to dissect the flaws of the Houston Texans, something always stands out – there aren’t many. Despite the loss of linebacker Brian Cushing for the year, the Texans are still the team to beat in the AFC, especially with a dynamic running game, a solid quarterback, one of the top receivers in the game and probably the best overall defense in the game as well.
The Packers jumped out to a 21-3 lead over the up-start Indianapolis Colts last Sunday, and then kicked it into cruise control – literally. The Packers allowed Indianapolis to climb back in the game and ultimately take the lead in the fourth quarter. Despite Green Bay eventually re-taking the lead, the Colts and Andrew Luck marched right down the field on the Packer defense to score the game-winning touchdown and send Green Bay to a loss. The Packers have to protect Aaron Rodgers. The elite quarterback has not been his usual self in 2012, and it’s due in large part to the lack of protection. This isn’t a good recipe for the Packers this week, as they face arguably the best pass rush in the NFL in the Houston Texans. J.J. Watt leads the league in sacks, and the Texans as a whole have been dominant defensively over the first five weeks.
WHAT TO WATCH
Can the Packers protect Aaron Rodgers? We all know Rodgers is an elite quarterback and has a slew of weapons on the outside to score points at will. But when Rodgers doesn’t have time to throw, he is at his worst. Rodgers and the Packers essentially had a big drive going late in the fourth quarter last week, but were eventually forced to punt late after Rodgers was sacked two plays in a row. For the Texans, the key is obviously doing what they do. The Texans are the equivalent of a balanced offense, running the ball and throwing the ball successfully, leading to one of the league’s most dynamic offenses. Arian Foster has been good again in 2012, and Matt Schaub has been effective following his injury-plagued 2011 season. If the Texans can protect the football and get their defense off the field, it could mean a 6-0 start.
Houston is favored by just over a field goal at home, as the Packers look to avoid their second-straight road loss to an AFC South team. At 2-3, the Packers are playing for their season. While it is still early, Green Bay doesn’t want to fall two games under .500, especially in a division where the Vikings and Bears look to be sticking around for the duration of the season. The Texans look like the better team on paper, but this one could be a toss up, especially with Cushing out for the season. Don’t bet against Aaron Rodgers, as he knows his team has its back against the wall.
In a rare occurrence, the Green Bay Packers will enter this game as an underdog. Betting sites such as Sportsbetting.ag have the Packers (+170) as a 3.5 point underdog going into Houston to face the Texans (-195). There is no doubt that this is going to a tough game but to see the Packers lose by more than a field goal… this writer just isn’t feeling it. Additional betting odds for Sunday Night Football include the over/under game total which has been set at 47.5 points for regulation and overtime (if needed).