(0-0, 0-0 ATS)
(0-0, 0-0 ATS)
Two squads from the AFC South are going to be jumping right into business on the first Sunday of the NFL betting campaign, as the Indianapolis Colts take on the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium.
This will be the first time that QB Peyton Manning will be working with new OC Clyde Christensen for a full 60 minutes in a game. In the preseason, Manning performed well, but the rest of his team was certainly shady in an 0-4 start. Still, this is a regularity for Indianapolis, who seemingly goes 0-4 or 1-3 in every preseason. The Colts still have a ton of certain and potential Hall of Famers, especially on offense. Manning is coming off of a 4,500 yard season, and he’ll only have more weapons this year with the addition of WR Anthony Gonzalez once again from last season’s knee injury. TE Dallas Clark and WR Reggie Wayne both had 100 receptions last year, while WR Pierre Garcon and WR Austin Collie both proved to be key participants in the run to the Super Bowl last season. The key might be the rushing game, as the pressure is on RB Joseph Addai to try to get going again after a year in which he failed to reach 1,000 yards rushing. If not, look for Indy to be in the market for a new running back in a hurry once the season is over.
This could be the biggest game in the history of the Houston Texans. They are going to have to prove that they are capable of playing with Indianapolis, something that hasn’t come easily in their history. Houston has one of the scariest passing attacks in the NFL, and though it isn’t nearly as deep as that of the Colts, the combination of QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson is clearly one of the, if not the most lethal in the league. The rushing game is probably going to struggle this season, though RB Arian Foster might have a chance to have a 1,000+ yard season this year as the full time starter now that RB Steve Slaton has fallen out of favor with HC Gary Kubiak. The defense is going to have to cope with the loss of LB Brian Cushing, last year’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, as he will be serving the first of a four game suspension for substance abuse. Rookie DB Kareem Jackson has a virtually impossible task this week of defending Wayne, which is about as difficult of a test as a corner can have in his first game.
The Texans have only beaten the Colts once in their franchise’s history, but this could very well be the second time. An undrafted rookie from this year is going to try block DE Mario Williams, and we think that Super Mario could ultimately be the difference maker for a Houston team hungry for a victory to start a make or break season. Our pro football free picks are calling for the outright upset in Houston.
Selection: Houston Texans +2