I have had this game circled on my calendar since the season was announced. Many people thought this would be a battle of two 5-0 teams heading into week 6, but the Green Bay Packers are still trying to find their footing, posting a 2-3 record. The former Super Bowl champs just seem lethargic and out of sync. They haven’t put together a complete performance yet, and the last loss was against a significantly inferior opponent, the Indianapolis Colts. The Packers will have the world watching them in this one on SNF, as they try and get to .500 on the year.
The Houston Texans on the other hand have asserted themselves as potential Super Bowl champions. They possess all the intangibles to make this happen: a high octane offense, with a stout defense. A few of the Super Bowl winners in recent memory got it done without a defense, but this team is complete from top to bottom.
The offense starts with top-flight running back Arian Foster. Foster has become a machine, a prototypical workhorse back that can do it all out of the backfield. Getting tough yards, receiving, bouncing it to the outside, you name it and this guy can do it. The offense relied on Foster against the Jets last week and he came through, rushing for 152 yards and a touchdown. The Texans offense has other weapons in their disposal though, with top-5 receiver Andre Johnson in the mix. Matt Schaub has done a great job complimenting Foster. The offense as a whole ranks only 14th in total yardage per game, but a closer look into the Texans indicates 29.8 points per game (3rd). As they say, the best defense is the best offense.
There was a time two years ago when the Texans were actually the worst defensive unit in the NFL. It is a distance memory now as they have revamped it under defensive coordinator Wade Philips. The Texans found a gem in the draft, acquiring defense end J.J. Watt out of Wisconsin in the first round. Watt busted out in the playoffs last season, intercepting Andy Dalton late in the first half of their game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Foster and Watt together singly handily won the game for the Texans against the Jets. Watt already has 7.5 sacks on the season and we have only played five weeks. The defense as a whole only allows 275 yards per game (3rd), with the pass defense sitting at 3rd as well surrendering 190 yards per game. The run defense isn’t too shabby either, allowing 85 yards per game (9th).
The once vaunted Packers offense has hit a hiccup for the most part this season. The only times they have really gotten into a rhythm has been against porous defenses. And even then, they still aren’t clicking they we have come to known from an Aaron Rodgers led offense. The offense is currently sitting at a paltry 21st in the NFL, averaging 338 yards a game and only 22.4 points a game. The defense has relied on the offense the last several seasons, but with the offense sputtering, the holes on defense have been glorified. The Packers stressed defense in the draft, and they have improved, but not enough to find a consistent effort. When the Colts offense puts up 30 points it usually doesn’t signify good things.
Packers vs. Texans Spread and Betting Odds:
Green Bay Packers +3 (+100)
@Houston Texans -3 (-120)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Packers vs. Texans Pick:
I see a lot of people saying that the Packers “need” this game. While certainly agree that they need this game, I don’t see how it translates into a Packers victory, however. They will come out hungry and put forth a good performance, but I just don’t think it will be enough to unseat the Texans at home. I have stated the Texans are the best team in the NFL and I’m going to stick with my guns. They are the most well rounded team in the NFL at the moment and I like them to pick up a statement victory here.
One of the biggest problems I have taking the Packers in this game is because of their offensive line going up against the Texans defense. J.J. Watt should have a field day on the edge. I can’t quite remember a regular season game of this significance at home for the Texans. This will possibly be the biggest in front of their home fans on SNF, so I expect the crowd to propel this defense even more. The absence of receiver Greg Jennings is going to hurt the Packers severely as well. Take the Texans in which should be a 30-24, 30-20 type game.
PICK = Texans -3