Atlanta Falcons Capitalize on Houston Texans
Written by Greg Smith – 2011-12 NFL Prediction Record (13-4)
Quarterback Matt Schaub and his fellow Houston Texans were setting franchise records and flying high this season until Schaub went out with a season ending injury. While challenging, the Texans remained a powerful team with backup QB Matt Leinart (for half a game) until he was lost to a season ending injury. So, the Texans are left to face the Atlanta Falcons this weekend with third string rookie QB TJ Yates to continue the Texans’ success and playoff hopes. It is my opinion that Yates and the Texans (featuring their defence and rushing game) will play valiantly against the Falcons in their upcoming match, but it is unrealistic to expect them to win, even provided 2.5 points via the NFL betting spread.
To begin with, let’s be clear that I have nothing against TJ Yates and I have enjoyed betting with the Texans in certain instances this season. During the Texans last game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Yates inherited a 17-10 lead at halftime and managed to play enough mistake-free football to secure the win. However, there are two important points about this game. First, Yates did not create any additional points scored for the Texans in their win. Second, the Atlanta Falcons are a far superior team to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Yates may be a viable NFL QB in time but to expect him to lead a team to victory against a strong opponent with only a week to study the playbook is a very tall order. Although the Falcons are not an elite NFL team overall, they are currently 9th in power rankings and have a respectable 7-4 record (3-2) as visitors. My central concern about the Falcons is that they have had marginal victories against marginal teams such as the Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans. With this being said, the Falcons have only to cover a 2.5 spread this weekend and three weeks ago took the powerhouse New Orleans Saints to overtime, losing by a field goal. As mentioned, the Falcons have respectable (but not spectacular) statistics overall but they do rank 2nd defensively in rushing yards allowed. This will work favourably in the Falcons favour this weekend against the home Texans.
It will hardly be a surprise to try and predict the Texans game plan this weekend against the Falcons. Take a rookie QB, add a great rushing game and throw in some excellent defence and you likely already know what they are planning. Since they rank 16th in passing yards gained and 3rd in rushing yards, Arian Foster and Ben Tate will get plenty of calls against the Falcons defence. The problem for the Texans is that everyone knows this is likely to be the plan and the Falcons will have a great run defence waiting. I would suspect that TJ Yates will get few planned opportunities to go to the air due to his inexperience in the NFL. Put simply, if the Falcons pass rush/run defence doesn’t get to Yates, his throws are likely to be rushed or off-target. It’s unfortunate for the Texans but injuries are arguably the biggest factor in NFL success and right now Houston has sustained too many at the QB position to be successful against any good opposition. As an NFL bettor I’m willing to take the Falcons on the calculation that they should be able to shut down the Texans’ running game and force rookie QB TJ Yates into some bad positions. After all, even with a great skill set it’s extremely difficult for a first year rookie QB to come in and successfully lead their team to victory, no matter how good the rest of their team is playing.
Prediction: Take the Atlanta Falcons -2.5 against the Houston Texans (5Dimes.com)