Can Seahawks Control Things on the Road at Houston?
Alan Penny 2013-09-26 in NFL Picks
A lot of NFL bettors are looking at the Seattle Seahawks as if they might be the best team in all of pro football right now. But there are some skeptics who wonder if they still aren’t a Jekyll-and-Hyde act with a huge edge at home, but a bit shaky on the road. Some of those doubts are bound to be addressed this Sunday as the NFC West leaders visit the Lone Star State to play the Houston Texans.
Any way you slice it, the Texans’ effort against Baltimore last week was a lousy one, and they got beat 30-9. Meanwhile, Seattle, after having its struggles offensively in the opener (a 12-7 win over Carolina), has cruised by San Francisco and Jacksonville by a combined 74-20 score.
The game will be seen on Fox and is scheduled to begin at 1 PM ET at Reliant Stadium, with the Seahawks a slight favorite on the road, according to the NFL odds that are posted on this game at GTBets:
By now, one supposes, it is customary to talk about the difference between the way Russell Wilson has played on the road and at home during his brief career.
When he has been in the friendly confines of Century Link Field, Wilson has 22 TD passes and just four interceptions, which are phenomenal numbers for someone with just ten pro starts there. On the road, however, he’s had 10 TD’s and eight interceptions, with his yardage per attempt much less, from a home mark of 9.1 to a road number of 7.4.
And Wilson has had his ups and downs. Most notably, he was just eight for 19 in the rout over San Francisco, and he has been sacked about 10% of the times he has dropped back to pass.
If Wilson isn’t clicking, Seattle likes to think that Marshawn Lynch can pick up the slack, but Lynch’s numbers (like 3.4 yards per carry) have not been stellar.
Their secondary is a tough nut to crack, however, and that is the challenge that lies ahead for Houston’s Matt Schaub. The Seahawks have allowed the opposing quarterbacks to complete just 53% of their passes for 5.5 yards an attempt, and they have intercepted five passes. This will be an added concern for the Texans (+2000 to win the Super Bowl at GTBets) if Andre Johnson doesn’t make post. What they learned last week was that even though it’s great to have a guy like DeAndre Hopkins adding support at wide receiver, if they don’t have full use of Johnson it still becomes a very rough proposition.
Johnson has had a concussion and a shin bruise already, and he has still caught 25 passes for 258 yards. However, he had to leave last week’s game with the Ravens in the first half, and not coincidentally, this team was held without a touchdown. Getting some consistency out of the running game is something they are definitely going to have to look for, and so it is good that they have the combination of Arial Foster (190 yards) and Ben Tate (184 yards) available. They may be able to attack the Seahawks (4.1 ypc allowed) in that way. And perhaps a big question would be whether Tate is going to be used more, since he is averaging 6.8 yards a carry.
But if this Houston defense comes alive, especially when it comes to the pass rush, there is potential trouble for Seattle. J.J. Watt has overcome a sluggish start to look a little more like his dominant self, and they started to work Ed Reed into the defense last week. Of course, they are going to need to start forcing turnovers in that secondary (just one INT in three games).
There are indeed some “technical” advantages for Seattle, which is now listed at +350 to raise the Super Bowl trophy in the futures at GTBets). They have covered their last twelve games against winning teams, not to mention covering ten of their last eleven overall against the NFL odds. And Houston has laid a goose egg against the pointspread thus far (0-3 ATS).