As always, the opening week of the NFL season begins with a double header of action on the Monday Night Football, with the first game of the two coming from the Superdome where the New Orleans Saints host the Houston Texans.
Both these sides won their respective divisions last season and that will be the least they are targeting again this term. With 24 regular season wins between them in the previous campaign we have two of the better teams opposing each other here.
New Orleans Saints
It still wrangles with the Saints army how last season ended but they will be hoping that their team will have used that as motivation and fuel to the fire to carry them forward and make sure their season ends in Florida this time round. Saints were one of the best teams in the entire league last term and if anything they look even stronger this time around, hence they are my pick to win the Super Bowl.
They have a couple of sizable advantages in this match. They have arguably the best wideout in football right now in Michael Thomas and he should have a field day against this Houston secondary but the area of the Saints which rarely gets the credit it deserves is their defence. In the tackles they look strong and the backfield is probably the best it has been in quite some time with the addition of Eli Apple last season.
You look at the off season of the Houston Texans and you wonder what plan they are working to. Allowing Jadeveon Clowney to leave was a strange thing and the rushed addition of Laremy Tunsil as late as last week reeks of a disorganised franchise and that is the last thing anyone wants to see heading into a season. I still happen to think the Texans will offer plenty this term, but it might be into October and beyond when they settle down.
The one thing Houston do have going for them is their offense. The exciting DeShaun Watson has an abundance of good receiving options to get the ball to and a couple of tidy running backs who have a point to prove over the course of the campaign. Watson is likely to have to deliver the goods himself though because there is no hiding the weakness of the secondary.
Houston Texans should be ok the longer the season goes on but they are going to have to win a number of shootouts with the state of their defence and this match is one I don’t think they can. Rolling into the Superdome to take on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints with a patched up defence at best and a very weak one at worst is not the way forward and I expect the Texans to come away with a heavy beating here. Brees and his crew put up points for fun regardless of the strength of the defence in their way, I just don’t see any way that the Texans stop the Saints unless JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus have lights out matches. New Orleans are stronger on offense and defence and they’ve got a seven point win in them here.
Michael Thomas has all the physical attributes to be in the mix with the best wide receivers in the league and I’m expecting him to have his own way against a Houston secondary which lost its best two players in free agency. To be fair you would back Thomas go destroy plenty of backfields this season let alone patched up ones that will need a few weeks to learn how to play together. He has a receiving line of 83.5 for this match which looks too low given that he’ll be the go to man for Brees once again this season. I don’t see anyone in the Houston backfield who will stop him so I’m happy to take that over.
Back New Orleans Saints (-6.5) to beat Houston Texans for a 4/10 stake at 1.95 with Boylesports
WON – Back M.Thomas – Over 83.5 receiving yards for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Boylesports
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