The Detroit Lions and Houston Texans go into their second preseason game on Saturday night with identical 0-1 records. But to say they are in identical situations would be a completely wrong statement.
Detroit is coming off an ugly 31-3 loss at home to New England in its preseason opener. Not exactly the start second-year coach Matt Patricia wanted in an effort to make the Lions into a playoff contender this season. Houston had a much closer preseason opener, falling 28-26 to Green Bay on the road. The Texans, the defending AFC South champions, didn’t play starting quarterback Deshaun Watson in that contest, so a close loss doesn’t hurt the team’s confidence too much.
The moneyline for this contest has the Detroit Lions +180 and the Houston Texans -210. The host Texans are favored by four points, with the over/under for the game set at 41.5.
Can’t Get Worse
Detroit managed just 93 yards of offense in its preseason opener. Granted, Matthew Stafford didn’t take a single snap, and the Lions were playing the defending Super Bowl champs, but Detroit had 414 yards in a regular-season win over the Patriots last season. Stafford hasn’t even practiced at times during training camp, so it’s unlikely he’ll be in this game. That leaves much of the snaps to David Fales, who threw for 62 yards in the opener, as Tom Savage, who was sacked three times by the Patriots, is in concussion protocol after that game.
The Lions’ running game didn’t accomplish a lot in the opener, so look for Patricia to try to run the ball more to get something going there. CJ Anderson was a key part of the Rams’ run to the Super Bowl in the postseason last year, though he had only two carries against New England. Defensively, Detroit must improve as well. Patriots backup Brian Hoyer was 12 of 14 for 147 yards and two touchdowns against the top Detroit defense in the preseason opener.
With Watson’s injury problems of the past, it’s unlikely he plays much if at all in the preseason. Joe Webb looked good in taking every snap of the preseason loss to Green Bay, completing 25 of 40 passes for 286 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted twice and sacked twice, but he showed a lot of mobility as well, leading the team with 47 rushing yards in the game.
The Houston defense isn’t going to be as imposing in the preseason as it will once the regular season starts simply because of the absence of JJ Watt on the defensive line. The Texans are also missing Jadeveon Clowney, who is holding out, but that still doesn’t make the team’s coaches happy about the defense failing to record a sack in the Packers loss. There are rumors that Clowney may be traded, so the team needs to find some players to pressure the quarterback to take some pressure off of Watt.
Texans Win At Home
Detroit is in midseason form as far as looking like a non-playoff contending team. That likely won’t change against a Houston team that will be trying to make up for an opening loss in front of its home crowd. Webb has another solid game and leads Houston to a win. I’m taking the Texans -4 to get the victory.