Many people feel that the 4-0 Houston Texans are the best team in football right now, and it is hard to argue considering Houston has the nice balance on both sides of the ball that the other two 4-0 teams lack, as Arizona struggles on offense while Atlanta is vulnerable defensively. The Jets meanwhile fell to 2-2 with an ugly 34-0 shutout loss at home vs. the San Francisco 49ers.
Even with this game being played in New Jersey, Houston is a solid -8 road favorite with the total set at 41½.
1. Why Houston will cover the spread: Besides what transpires on the field, the Texans will cover this spread if they do not look past the Jets here with big dates vs. the Packers and Ravens coming up in the next two weeks. There is no doubt that Houston is the better football team, but the Texans do appear to be at an emotional disadvantage when you combine the look-ahead angle just mentioned with the Jets wanting to atone for an embarrassing home loss last week while playing at home again on Monday. Of course, the emotional edge the Jets have won’t mean anything if the Texans can execute the physical part of the equation, and two keys in that regard are running the ball on offense and putting pressure on Mark Sanchez defensively. Believe it or not, Houston is only averaging 3.7 yards per rush this year, although the defense has done its part with 13 sacks.
2. Why New York will cover the spread: Aside from riding their emotional wave as much as possible, two keys for the Jets are finding a running game on offense to help slow down the Houston pass rush and stopping the run defensively to force Matt Schaub into third and long situations. In another surprise, the Houston defense is allowing a higher than expected 4.3 yards per rush, but can the Jets take advantage with a 24th ranked rushing offense averaging only 85.2 yards per game? Also, New York ranks a dismal 31st in rushing defense allowing an abysmal 172.7 rushing yards per contest on 4.9 yards per carry.
3. Total Talk: Just looking at the facts, the Jets should not be able to accomplish either of their goals, although there is something to be said about emotion in professional football. Still, the Texans are simply so much better physically that they could sleepwalk their way to a cover here, and we actually like the ‘over’ in this contest. The main reason is because we feel that the Jets will need to throw the ball a lot when they realize they can’t run, but we also feel Schaub will have success vs. a Revis-less secondary once the Texans establish that they can run. The look-ahead factor could keep this game closer than normal, but not enough for a Jets’ cover.
4. Betting Trends for the game: Teams that were shutout at home (New York) are 19-9 ATS the following week since 2001. However, Houston is 7-0-1 ATS in its last eight games following a straight up win by more than 14 points, and the Texas beat Tennessee 38-14 in Week 4.
Houston 27 – New York 17