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Houston Texans vs. New Orleans Saints,
8-26-2017 - Expert Prediction

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Game Snapshot with Current Line

#269 Houston
Texans
#270 New Orleans
Saints

Saturday, August 26, 2017 at 8:00pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

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Houston Texans 1-1 (1-1 ATS) at New Orleans Saints 1-1 (1-1 ATS)

When and Where: Saturday, August 26, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La. 8:00pm EDT

Spread: New Orleans -1.5; Total: 44

Despite being located just five hours away from each other via I-10, these two teams do not play very often.  As a matter of fact, they have met just four times in the regular season, with each team winning twice.  This meeting will take place in the “Big Easy” on Saturday night in the third preseason game of the year, where the starters are expected to stay on the field into the second half.  A season ago the Saints finished 7-9, while the Texans finished 9-7, won the AFC South, and made it to the AFC Divisional round before falling to the eventual champion Patriots.

Texans Trying to Stay Healthy

The Houston defense has been one of the most feared units in the National Football League the last several years, and one of the big reasons why is J.J. Watt.  Watt, however, has had trouble staying healthy the last couple of seasons, including last year when the defensive end missed 13 games.  Head coach Bill O’Brien has limited Watt’s snaps during the first couple of games but is expected to play more vs. New Orleans and be 100 percent for the season opener against Jacksonville.

Last week the Texans got a little revenge for their playoff loss to New England, taking the Pats down 27-23. Houston ran out of the shotgun formation with “The Macho Man” Tom Savage getting the start behind center, albeit a few feet behind him. Savage’s is still officially the starter at this point, but his days are probably limited in the role with talented rookie Deshaun Watson waiting in the wings. Watson struggled however, in the victory, completing just three of his 10 passes for 102 yards and a 69.6 passer rating.

Saints Struggling to this Point

New Orleans has not exactly been lighting it up in the preseason thus far.  The Saints lost the opener 20-14 to the Browns, and followed that up with a 13-7 victory over a dismal L.A. Chargers squad.  The Chargers manged just 158 total yards, while New Orleans amassed 265, 157 of which came on the ground.  Alvin Kamara ran for 61 of them on five carries, but one of those carries went for 50 yards.  Chase Daniel started in place of Drew Brees and led the Saints to 10 first-quarter points in Los Angeles. He finished 7 of 12 for 80 yards.

Brees turned 38 in January but by all indications is still going strong. A year ago the veteran quarterback still managed to throw for 37 touchdowns against 15 interceptions, plus 5,208 yards.  He has led the league in touchdown passes in four of the last nine seasons, and in all nine of those years he has thrown for at lest 33 touchdownpasses and 4,300 yards.

Trends:

Houston is:

  • 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games
  • 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall

New Orleans is:

  • 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Saturday games
  • 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games overall
  • 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games on fieldturf

Savage seems like a serviceable quarterback, but he is obviously no Drew Brees.  Look for Brees to come out as his gunslinger self on Saturday night.  The Saints are also playing in front of their home crowd so look for them to put on a show in the Superdome and cover the spread here.

Pick: New Orleans -1.5

Chuck D

Chuck Dowling is a 30-something University of Florida J-School alum that lives in his mother’s basement. Just kidding... there are no basements in Florida (the ground is too moist). He has been in the “biz” for his entire adult life and specializes in NCAA football and basketball, as well as soccer, boxing, and MMA. When not writing, Chuck moonlights as a high school athletics radio and internet-television broadcaster.

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