Free NFL Pick: Houston at New York Jets

November 17, 2010

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Houston Texans at New York Jets

Sunday November 21st, 2010 1:00 PM EST

Line: New York Jets -7

Overview:

The New York Jets were the self proclaimed team to beat in the NFL coming into the season. After acquiring a number of super stars through free agency, they have the depth and veteran presence to compete with anyone in the league. The 7-2 Jets have been dominant, but their last three games they have not been overly impressive. After losing in a shut out loss to the Packers, the Jets went on to squeak past the Lions and Browns in overtime.

The Jets seem vulnerable and the 4-5 Texans would love to take advantage. The Texans are in desperate need of a victory. At 4-5, they need to move to 5-5 to become relevant in the AFC South once again. Dropping to 4-6 would push them out of the playoff picture entirely, but after dropping three straight, their chances of knocking off a team like the Jets are slim.

Keys to the Game:

  • The Jets have an overwhelming amount of talent at wide receiver, but they can’t let it blur their run first identity that makes them so successful. LaDainian Tomlinson has not been running with the ferocity he was in the beginning of the season, which is having an adverse effect on the team. His carries have remained between 15 and 20, but his yards per carry have plummeted. L.T. no longer looks like the L.T. of old. After having five games of at least 60 yards, he has failed to reach the mark in his last four games. The Jets have a great offensive line. It’s time to really become a force on the ground again.
  • More often than not, Arian Foster rushes for 100 yards. Foster has had doubters every step of this season. People said teams would start gearing up against the run and slowing down his production. People said he would gradually lose ground in the race for the rushing title. Here we are in week 11 and Foster still sits atop the league with 920 yards. Foster has six touchdowns in his last four games. He is on pace for 1636 yards and 18 touchdowns. Even so, many people still see the Texans as a passing offense. He faces an uphill battle this week against the Jets, but Peyton Hillis managed to rush for 82 yards and a touchdown and Foster could easily match that sort of production.
  • Don’t look for Mario Williams to be super this Sunday. Mario Williams has gone cold the last five weeks, totaling only ten tackles and .5 sacks. With Demeco Ryans out in the middle, the Texans have been forced to shift Brian Cushing inside. This takes away from the pass rush that makes the Texans so effective. With only fourteen sacks on the year, the Texans need Mario Williams to start wreaking havoc in the backfield. It is going to be tough for him to dominate when he goes up against D’Brikashaw Ferfuson. Ferguson is a true franchise left tackle. He has the physical skill set to maul defenders in the run game and the athleticism and range to handle the league’s best pass rushers. Williams could find himself in an unfamiliar one on one situation, but he may not come out on top.

Key Matchup:

Andre Johnson Vs. Darrelle Revis

  • Johnson has physicality and a build that make him nearly uncoverable. He has played eight games this year and has surpassed the 100 yard mark in half of them. He is the fourth leading receiver in the NFL and has 97.6 yards a game. When Arian Foster gets going, Johnson isn’t the focal point of the Texans offense. One on one coverage with Johnson is always a disaster, unless he is on Revis island, that is.
  • Revis is the definition of a lock down corner. Most teams put their number two corner and additional help on a guy like Johnson. The Jets have the luxury of having such a dominant number one corner, he can completely shut down a wide receiver of Johnson’s caliber by himself. People constantly challenge Revis, saying he can’t match up physically to wide receivers like Randy Moss and Calvin Johnson, but the numbers don’t lie. This matchup features the best in the business at their respective craft.

Wrap Up:

The Jets don’t look out of sorts. For whatever reason, teams that they should be rolling over have been giving them fits. They need a big time victory this week, but so do the Texans. The Texans have been struggling recently, but I see them taking control in this one. They might not come away with a victory, but given the tight knit games the Jets have had, the Texans seem to talented to get blown away, even in the Meadowlands. Texans cover, but don’t win.

Free NFL Pick: Houston +7


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