Sportsmemo Handicapper Teddy Covers and host Andrew Lange discussed the AFC North Division on Monday's Podcast. You can
Teddy’s NFL Win Total Report is, quite simply, the best in the business, off another moneymaking season in 2011. He’s 61-27 (69%) lifetime with his win total recommendations dating back to 2002, including an outstanding 9-1 (90%) mark with his 20* Big Tickets. This is one report that even professional bettors can’t do without! Teddy’s first win total report
, with a second report to follow later in the preseason. Sign up today for full access to the entire package.
The Texans have spent the last four seasons trying to get over the hump from expansion franchise to playoff team. After going 8-8, 8-8 and 9-7 from 2007-2009, Houston took a step back last year, falling to 6-10 in large part because their defense couldn’t get stops. The Texans finished with the #3 ranked offense in the NFL, but their 30th ranked defense simply couldn’t get stops when they mattered most.
Three factors come into play in Houston’s favor this year. First and foremost is the addition of new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Phillips is clearly not a great head coach, but he’s got a proven track record of first year turnarounds when installing his version of the 3-4 as a defensive coordinator. Recent history shows that of the 16 teams that switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4 since 1999, 11 of those defenses improved the following year while only three defenses declined. Phillips engineered two major turnarounds: San Diego in 2004 and Atlanta in 2002. Reports out of Texans camp indicate that the transition to his 3-4 is going very well, and that’s been evidenced by the solid play of Houston’s first string defenders in their first two preseason games. This defense is not short on talent, and the addition of shutdown corner Jonathan Joseph is arguably as big as any free agent signing this offseason. Let’s not forget that the Texans top five draft picks were all on the defensive side of the football.
The second issue working in Houston’s favor for 2011 is their schedule. Last year, based on my numbers – taking my power rating for each opponent on the week that the game was played -- the Texans faced the single toughest slate in the NFL. This year, every other team in their division looks like they’ve declined or at best, stayed the same. And Houston has a whole host of cupcakes on the slate, facing the likes of Carolina, Cinci, Cleveland and Oakland in non-divisional affairs.
Lastly, the Texans have that intangible ‘positive chemistry’ working in their favor right now. Few teams in the NFL had better leadership than Houston during the lockout, with QB Matt Schaub leading a series of offensive workouts while LB DeMeco Ryans did the same on the defensive side of the ball. Head coach Gary Kubiak is signed through 2012, eliminating a potential distraction if the team gets off to a slow start. I’m betting Houston Over their win total, and have also placed a handful of wagers on the Texans to win the division. You can still find Houston Over 8 wins with heavy juice, but I’m confident enough to recommend the Over 8.5 with less vig attached to the wager. Take the Texans Over.