The Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers will meet during Week 6 of the 2012-13 NFL season on October 14, 2012. The game will be played at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. These are my picks against the spread for that contest.
The Texans have a 5-0 record. The Packers have a 2-3 record. The Packers and Texans are both meeting each other for the third time in NFL history. The series is tied 1-1. When these teams last met, the Texans won at Lambeau Field in 2008. Since the Texans played a Monday Night Football game in Week 5, they're coming off a short week of preparation.
The early spread is Texans (-3.5). The over-under total is 48. As of October 10, all odds are from Yahoo! Sports. Click the "Key Injuries" for injury reports from official team websites.
Week 5 Results
Green Bay Packers 27 at Indianapolis Colts 30
Houston Texans 23 at New York Jets 17
Key Injuries: Green Bay Packers (As of October 10)
RB Cedric Benson (IR), NT B.J. Raji, TE Jermichael Finley, WR Greg Jennings
Key Injuries: Houston Texans (As of October 10)
LB Brian Cushing (Out), WR Andre Johnson, G Antoine Caldwell, S Quintin Demps, RB Ben Tate, DT Shaun Cody
Keys To The Game
Time of Possession
Packers' Offensive Line vs. J.J. Watt
Packers: Efficiency and Execution
The Health of B.J. Raji
Pass Protection for Both Teams
Texans Minus Brian Cushing vs. Packers Minus Cedric Benson
The Discipline of the Packers
The Confidence of Mason Crosby
The Texans are one of two undefeated teams. There's no doubt that they're a good football team. The question: how good? As of Week 6, all five of the Texans' wins came from teams who are below .500. The Texans have played against a slew of quarterbacks that include Ryan Tannehill (NFL debut), Blaine Gabbert, Peyton Manning, Matt Hasselbeck and Mark Sanchez. Manning completed 26-of-52 passes for 330 yards with two touchdowns.
What's the main difference between these two teams? Pass protection. The Packers are one of two teams who've surrendered more than 15 sacks. They've allowed 21. This is a combination of an underachieving offensive line and a quarterback who holds the football for far too long. The Texans have only allowed three sacks. Matt Schaub is terrific at getting rid of the football before he gets hit. He's also difficult to bring down.
The Texans lead the NFL in offensive time-of-possession. They've controlled the football for 35 minutes and 29 seconds per game. That's the result of a well-balanced offense and weak opponents. The Texans also have a (+8) turnover ratio.
The Texans are much better than they showed against the Jets. At the same time, their competition has been weak. The Packers are better than their 2-3 record indicates. They've had so many awkward scenarios with officiating and "Chuckstrong." I feel like they're due for a breakout performance. What they may need is the motivation from playing a 5-0 team.
I call this an "If, then" game. If the Packers play like they're capable of playing, then they win. If Aaron Rodgers continues to have that glazed-eye look or a lot of bad calls go against them, then the Texans win. J.J. Watt will probably add two sacks and at least one knocked down pass to his stats.
Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans (-3.5): The Pick
Against The Spread: Green Bay Packers (+3.5)
Straight: Green Bay Packers 23, Houston Texans 20
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 as he completed a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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