Houston Texans Set New Records Against Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Written by Greg Smith – 2011-12 NFL Prediction Record (9-2)
What a turnaround this year has been for the Houston Texans. With their win last weekend over the Cleveland Browns the Texans moved to 6-3 on the season-the first time they have been three games over .500 in franchise history. Certainly they looked to improve upon last season’s disappointments and have done so in admirable fashion. This weekend the Texans look to secure their playoff goals with a strong win over the mediocre Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Let’s review some facts and highlights from both teams to determine the likely victor in this matchup and how NFL bettors can profit.
The Houston Texans currently rank 8th in most NFL power rankings, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to hold the middle ground in the 18th position. These standings are generally indicative of the way both teams have handled themselves this year, as the Texans look to making a strong run into the playoffs and the Buccaneers continuing to rebuild into a contender. It is of great value to note that the Houston Texans are currently ranked first overall in terms of defence, while the Buccaneers defence sits in 29th position. Indeed, to this point of the season the Texans have allowed only 2, 466 total yards as compared to the 3,687 yards given up to this date last year. Granted, the Texans have faced some of the weaker teams in the league in the Jaguars, Colts and Browns but they have also faced the Saints, Steelers, Titans and Raiders. The Texans losses to the Saints and Raiders are of some concern but wins over the Titans and Steelers illustrate the combination of skill and toughness on this Texans team. The Buccaneers have to be concerned facing the top ranked defence in the league, as their offence has been mediocre at best. While Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman is having a good year with a 76.8 QB rating to date, it is a problem that he has eight touchdowns with ten interceptions. Going into this weekend Freeman will likely have little support via the running game as the Bucs rank only 24th in the league in this area.
In addition to their 6-3 record, the Texans also set another team record as they limited their third opponent in a row (the Cleveland Browns) to less than 175 total yards. As the Texans illustrated versus the Browns, they have an intimidating one-two punch with the running game in Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Although the Browns were expecting the run for much of the game, both Texan players were able to rush for over 100 yards apiece, as they were greatly helped by the Texans dominating offensive line. To those that would shrug off this information, it is important to note that the Cleveland Browns last weekend were ranked 5th on defence. It seems quite reasonable to state that the Bucs will struggle to create an offence against the Texans, especially as their wide receivers continue to give little support to QB Josh Freeman. Although the Bucs rank a decent 11th position in their passing offence, their players have had great difficulties in making the most of their opportunities. Bucs receiver Mike Williams is tied for 5th in the NFL for most dropped passes (at five on the year) and teammates Arrelious Benn and Kellen Winslow not far behind at three drops. In our overall comparison we see that the Bucs are having a mediocre season at best, while the Houston Texans are having their best season with hopes and potential to go much further. Indeed, with the New England Patriots’ latest loss it is possible for the Texans to gain the AFC’s number 2 playoff seed, thereby giving themselves a first round bye and home field advantage through the AFC playoffs. This might be high talk for the Texans, but former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach recently described the Houston Texans “the most complete team in the NFL.”
Prediction: Houston Texans -3 (5Dimes.com)
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