The Houston Texans might still be smarting from last week’s monumental collapse against the Seattle Seahawks. As they are getting over that, they have to travel to the west coast and take on the San Francisco 49ers in NFL action that is set to begin at 8:30 PM ET on Sunday night at Candlestick Park. The game will be televised live on NBC.
Both of these teams have 2-2 records. The Niners came back from two embarrassing losses in a row last week by routing the St. Louis Rams. Houston blew a 20-3 lead against Seattle, losing 23-20 in overtime.
San Francisco 49ers -6
Houston Texans +6
Here is the over/under on Sunday night’s game:
Over 41.5 Points -110
Under 41.5 Points -110
Houston came back from a 28-7 deficit in the season opener to beat San Diego, but they let the same thing happen to them last week. They were ahead 20-3 at halftime against one of the league’s Super Bowl favorites, the Seattle Seahawks, and they let that lead slip away. Matt Schaub threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown – the third time he has done that in three games – which tied the game, and the Seahawks won on a field goal in the extra period. That was crushing.
You wonder sometimes whether that’s a more difficult loss to take than the 29-3 pasting Seattle dealt out to the 49ers a few weeks ago, but San Francisco likes to think it has put itself back on the right track after suffering two straight defeats for the first time under Jim Harbaugh. The Niners scored a 35-11 win at St. Louis last Thursday night; a game that put Frank Gore back in business, with 153 yards just a week after he carried the ball only three times in the second half against Indianapolis. He is now averaging 4.8 yards per carry on the season.
Let’s see if Colin Kaepernick is all the way back. The San Francisco quarterback is 58% accurate but has turned the ball over seven times. It would benefit the Niner offense if he could spread the ball around a little better. Anquan Boldin, the team’s leading receiver, has 24 catches, which is more than twice as many receptions as anyone else on the roster.
Schaub has come under a lot of heat from Houston fans, and not all of it is unjustified. He does put up numbers, but this Texan team is not supposed to come up short when it comes to competing against the league’s best. Yet it does.
Can they “finish”? All-Pro defender JJ Watt says that is the objective. They certainly have the personnel to do it. And the more time Ed Reed has with Wade Phillips’ defensive scheme, the better off this team will be. Houston has thirteen sacks o the season, and has outgained its opponents by 156 yards a game. Teams with that kind of metric should not be sitting at the .500 mark.
What will these guys have to do? San Francisco, as we know, is pretty solid on the defensive side and may be welcoming back All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis, who’s been sitting out with a groin injury. Of course, pass rusher extreme Aldon Smith is still out of action due to his rehabilitation stint after a DUI arrest. The Niners have permitted less than 53% completions and 3.5 yards a rushing attempt. They totally shut down the Rams last week, yielding just 18 yards on 19 carries.
Houston (the +210 money line underdog at BetOnline) has the running game to attack San Francisco. It’s two-headed, but it looks as if Ben Tate has done a little better than Arian Foster, gaining 6.7 yards per carry compared to Tate’s 3.8. And it really helps to have someone to team with Andre Johnson at wide receiver; rookie DeAndre Hopkins has caught twenty passes and will undoubtedly continue to be a big part of the offense.
On the technical side of things, the Niners have been a pretty good NFL betting choice when they play at home. Under the direction of Harbaugh, they have a 14-5-1 record against the pointspread at the Stick.
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