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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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Houston Texans 2012 NFL Preview: Schedule, Prediction, Odds

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BetOnline has the Houston Texans listed at +500 odds ($100 to win $500) to win the AFC Championship and -600 odds ($100 to win $600) to take AFC South Title. The latest Super Bowl Odds for Houston are +1200 ($100 to win $1200). Last year the Houston Texans had their best year ever at 10-6 and they won their first playoff game ever as well. This year they have lost some key personnel in the offseason, but thanks to a solid draft and a defense that was 2nd in the league last year, plus the fact that the rest of the teams in the division are all pretty weak, the Houston Texans are the clear cut favorites to win the AFC South this year. 

Defense was a big key to the success of this team last year as they finished 2nd in the league in total defense, allowing just 283 ypg and 17 ppg. after finishing 30th in total defense in 2010 (372 ypg) and allowing 27 ppg that year as well. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips made dramatic improvements to this defense last year, but he also had better personnel to work with, especially in the secondary with newcomers Johnathan Joseph and Danieal Manning. Youngsters J.J. Watt and Connor Barwin are relentless pass rushers who create turnovers, and the team really didn’t miss Mario Williams after he went down with a season-ending injury in October. The Texas used thier first draft pick to take DE Whitney Mercilus (16 sacks LY for Illinois) to take the place of the departed Williams and he should contribute right away. Brian Cushing had a big year after moving inside in Phillips’ 3-4 defense and with the amount of blitzing Houston does, he’ll continue to make life difficult for opposing quarterbacks. Despite the losses this unit still has top 45 potential this year. 

Matt Schaub has developed into one of the better QB’s in the NFL and while he missed most of last season T.J. Yates was a capable backup but right now this team is better with Schaub. Last year, only the Tim Tebow Broncos were more run-heavy than Houston, who kept it on the ground even when quarterback Matt Schaub was healthy. Arian Foster still takes about 70 percent of the reps despite the emergence of Ben Tate. The Texans use a West Coast passing game that doesn’t take a lot of chances downfield. Andre Johnson is the focal point, and they’ll play him at numerous spots and are especially effective putting him in motion and creating mismatches. Owen Daniels should be healthier in his second year back from a torn ACL and is essentially the No. 2 receiver in this offense. The OL is solid and should continue to open holes for Foster and Tate, while protecting Schaub. I expect them to put ou more than the 24 ppg they averaged last year.

Overall the Texans are in store for a really good season. They face the 31st ranked schedule and Tennessee, Indianapolis and Jacksonville will all probably not make the .500 mark. THe Defense is stellar and the offense is healthier. There is really no way for this team to not win the AFC South. The Over/ Under for Wins this year for Houston is 9.5 at sportsbook.ag, with the Over 9.5 being the favorite (-200). Vegas based Cantor Gaming has released pointspreads for weeks 1 through 16 and they have Houston favored in 9 of their games, with 2 PK's and they are favored in all 6 of their AFC South games. I do expect the Texans to go Over the total of 9.5 this year.

Texans Regular-Season Schedule and Spreads (Cantor Gaming)

(All times Eastern)

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 9, Miami, 1:00 PM  (-6.5)
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 16, at Jacksonville, 1:00 PM  (-5.5)
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 23, at Denver, 4:15 PM  (Pick 'em)
Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 30, Tennessee, 1:00 PM  (-7.5)
Week 5: Monday, Oct. 8, at N.Y. Jets, 8:30 PM  (Pick 'em)
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 14, Green Bay, 8:20 PM  (+1.5)
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 21, Baltimore, 1:00 PM  (-3)
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 4, Buffalo, 1:00 PM  (-7)
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 11, at Chicago, 8:20 PM  (+1)
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 18, Jacksonville, 1:00 PM  (-10.5)
Week 12: Thursday, Nov. 22, at Detroit, 12:30 PM  (+2.5)
Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 2, at Tennessee, 1:00 PM  (-3)
Week 14: Monday, Dec. 10, at New England, 8:30 PM  (+6.5)
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 16, Indianapolis, 1:00 PM  (-10.5)
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 23, Minnesota, 1:00 PM  (-10)
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 30, at Indianapolis, 1:00 PM  (No Line Posted Yet)

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