Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Eagles @ Texans Pick

Philly @ Houston

I think Gary Kubiak can actually be a decent Head Coach in the NFL. Out of the new crop of head coaches, I think Kubiak could end up the best. Houston could improve their offense this year, but remember their HC last year Dom Capers was supposed to be a defensive genius and his defense was terrible. If a defensive "genius" had the 3rd worst defense in the NFL, then how will the defense be without a genius coach? I think a lot of it has to do with not enough talent.

Last year Houston’s defense ranked...
2nd to last in yards given up (364) per game
LAST in points given up ( 26.9)
LAST in yards per play given up (5.8)
LAST in first downs given up ( 21.8) per game
LAST in rushing yards given up (143.9) per game

How many 3rd and longs does an offense get into when your defense gives up 5.8 yards on each play?

People will cry about the Texans not selecting Running back Reggie Bush, but that team fared last in almost every defensive category and I don't think they would suite Mr. Bush up to play defense.

Their offense didn't fare much better, but they did show some signs of life. While their passing game was still one of the worst in the league (30th), they were actually 15th in rushing. The team was known for poor offensive line play, as they gave up 68 Quarterback sacks. I honestly didn't watch much of Houston last year, but I saw a few plays where the line blocked OK, but the middle linebacker ran right through the A Gap and Dom Davis didn't pick him up (resulting in a sack). Not everything is always the lines fault, but it can be the Tight ends, the backs, and yes also the Quarterbacks fault. The first thing Kubiak said when he got to Houston was that the O-Line had to improve, and that it wasn't all their fault. Kubiak told Carr that he had to get rid of the ball quicker as well.

On Sunday’s game the Texans will start 5 rookies. On offense they will have 3rd round pick Charles Spencer defending Carrs blind side at Left Tackle. Spencer was originally drafted as a guard, but now he will be moved over to the Island at LT and he will be matched up against Darren Howard. On offense they are also starting 4th round Tight end Owen Daniel, and 6th round running back Wali Lundy. The Left tackle is probably the most important pass blocking position for a right handed Quarterback, and the Tight end and running back are very important as far as picking up the blitz. The Texans will be starting rookie’s at all three positions.

The Eagles and their defensive coordinator Jim Johnson are known for the blitz and getting after a quarterback. I am sure JJ is licking his chops knowing the Texans have 3 rookies in key pass blocking positions. Last year David Carr was sacked 68 times, and in his first game he could be similar to last year. I would expect a smart offensive coach like Kubiak to work in some screens, draws to take some aggressiveness away from the defense, and waggles, and QB Roll outs to move the pocket, but you can only game plan so much.

I have Donovan Mcnabb as the 3rd or 4th best Quarterback in the NFL right behind Brady and Peyton. I think Carson Palmer and Mcnabb are the 1AA Quarterbacks right behind them. Mcnabb with a balanced west coast offense has to be licking his chops. People in sports have a tendency to put more of an emphasis on what they just saw last. A lot of people think that since the Eagles finished in last place last year, that their run is done. I can assure you that Donovan is a Veteran Quarterback who has been running this offense for 7 years and will be ready to play. Philly has two speedy receivers on the outside with threats at the tight end and running back positions in the middle. Bryan Westbrook is still lasted as day to day, but if he plays they are in position to attack the whole field on offense.

Houston is also starting two rookies on defense. I am not worried about #1 overall pick Mario Williams, but 2nd round pick Demarco Ryans is starting at Middle linebacker. Middle Linebacker is the signal caller on defense, and they have yet another inexperienced player in a key position. I don't like their secondary at all. Dunata Robinson should be legit at corner, but former 4th round pick Lewis Sanders is starting next to him. At Safety they are starting Glenn Earl and CC Brown. Don't forget that linebackers are part of the secondary and they are starting a rookie MLB, Undrafted Shantee Orr and Morlon Greenwood. I think Houston has one of the worst back 7 defenses in the league.

I think Philly’s O-Line will play better this year, and running the ball will be a plus. I could see Mcnabb spreading out the Texans and teaching a passing clinic with 300+ yards and 3 touchdowns.

Last but not least here is some more interesting data suggesting Philly wins and covers the point spread.

Houston at home last year
Pittsburgh Lost by 20
Tennessee Lost by 14
Indy Lost by 18
Cleveland ( won by 3)
Kansas City Lost by 28
St Louis Lost by 6
Arizona ( won by 11)
Jacksonville Lost by 18

The Spread should not matter. Last year Houston went 2-6 at home, and all 6 games they lost were by more than 3.5. In fact, only one of their losses was within a touchdown. I am very confident that Philly wins by 10 or more.

Philly 34
Houston 13


Bankroll 50 units

Buffalo @ New England Money Line -355 (17 Units)
Philly -3.5 @ Houston ( 5 Units)
Dallas +3 @ Jacksonville ( 5 units)

The Lines are already moving the other direction. I am lucky I locked them in because the New England Moneyline is now at -425. Philly is favored by 4.5, and Dallas is only a 2 point underdog now.

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