A pair of teams with a combined 7-1 record square off Sunday as one of the featured games on this Week 5 slate. The Houston Texans will travel to Minnesota to take on the undefeated Vikings. What a start it’s been for them – after losing QB Teddy Bridgewater in training camp, Minnesota hasn’t missed a beat with Sam Bradford at quarterback. They’ve also been getting it done on the defensive side of things, and it looks like they could once again repeat in the NFC North.
On the other side are the Houston Texans, who were recently dealt with a crushing blow of their own when they lost J.J. Watt. Watt is the heart and soul of that defense and without him, it remains to be seen how the Texans respond going forward. They’re definitely alive in a wide open AFC South division, but you have to wonder about the morale of the team in future weeks ahead. Regardless, it’s Week 5 and two of the top teams in football face off in what promises to be a great game of football. Read on below for a full game breakdown and analysis, as well as an official betting selection for Week 5 of the Texans and Vikings.
Texans vs. Vikings Betting Odds:
Houston Texans +6.5 (+100)
@ Minnesota Vikings -6.5 (-120)
Over 39.5 (-110)
Under 39.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Texans vs. Vikings Pick:
When Bridgewater went down for the Vikings, many fans and experts thought their season was over. However bringing in Bradford has given the unit more life, and although the Vikes don’t blow you away with offensive talent or crazy stat-lines, this remains an efficient group and one that converts third-downs and doesn’t turn the ball over. They play very smart football when they’ve got it – a seemingly rare feat for most teams in the NFL these days!
As of right now, without Watt, the Texans have some holes in their defense. Though their secondary has been solid, the Vikings have a way of moving the chains with their unheralded receivers. It’s not yet certain if Stefon Diggs will sit out, but even if he does look for tight end Kyle Rudolph and running back Jerick McKinnon to pick up a lot of the slack. Houston has shown an inability to stop the run all season long, and that issue has only magnified without Watt. In Week 3, LeGarrette Blount absolutely trampled the Texans’ run defense and it should be something similar for the elusive McKinnon in Week 5. Minnesota also boasts a solid offensive line and they should decisively win the battle in the trenches against Houston’s defensive line. A solid push as well as some extra time for Bradford bodes well for Vikings’ points on Sunday.
On the other side of the football, I’ve got no clue how Houston plans to move the ball on this excellent Minnesota defense. It has to be, undoubtedly the top unit in football right now, and as was seen on Monday night against Eli Manning and the Giants, they can be very disruptive. Houston has not had great protection from their offensive line so far in 2016 and that could spell doom early for the Texans. Brock Osweiler won’t have very much time in the pocket and even if he does, the Vikings’ secondary doesn’t give up much of anything. On the ground, Lamar Miller has slowed down of late and Minnesota won’t concede much yardage here either. Miller has only averaged 3.8 yards per carry so far this season, and with no O-Line push, it’s clear that moving the chains on Sunday will be difficult for Houston.
I can’t reasonably expect a close game between these two teams trending in opposite directions. The Vikings look like the class of the NFL right now, whereas the Texans’ D is fading and their offense won’t muster anything in Minnesota. Even without Stefon Diggs, the Vikes have enough talent to easily cover this spread on Sunday.
PICK = Vikings -6.5 (-120)