NFL Week 3 Preview: Houston Texans Favored 3 Over Dallas Cowboys in “Battle for Texas”

September 24th, 2010 – by Alex

In what many are calling the Dallas Cowboys’ (0-2) last shot at redemption (three weeks into the season, mind you) they will square off in an away game against the Houston Texans (2-0) this coming Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1pm EST from Reliant Stadium in Houston. Coverage of this game can be seen on Fox and DirecTV channel 709.

The early 2010-11 NFL season has been unkind thus far to the Cowboys as the team comes off two disappointing losses.

Offensively, the Cowboys haven’t even begun to play up to their potential. The group scored a mere 13 points in their last game on their way to three turnovers. The ground game was particularly poor with 38 rushing yards on 19 carries. Considering how tough the Texans defense can be, Dallas will have a lot of trouble getting the ground attack going in this game. A lot of the burden to score will fall on quarterback, Tony Romo, who has been unimpressive thus far. He has all the tools to make an aerial attack work with receivers Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, so at this point it’s time for him to step up and make the necessary plays.

The Cowboys defense was very unimpressive against the Bears to the tune of Jay Cutler throwing three touchdowns and no interceptions en route to a 374 yard performance. There is no way that Dallas can allow a repeat of that against an extremely dangerous Houston Texans offense. Look for the Cowboys to either step up defensively, or fall to 0-3 on the season.

Interestingly enough, the Texans have been everything that the Cowboys haven’t. With expectations not being particularly high for them, the team has shined and handled adversity in a surprisingly impressive fashion.

In their last game against the Washington Redskins, the Texans allowed their opponents to take an early lead before coming back with a vengeance and forcing overtime en route to an eventual overtime victory. Quarterback, Matt Schaub led his unit to 17 straight to end the game, and was aided by arguably the best receiver in the game in Andre Johnson. Between Johnson and fellow receiver Kevin Walter, the pair accumulated 23 catches for 302 yards and two touchdowns. Everyone did their part in the victory, though, as kicker Neil Rackers put the official tally in the ‘wins’ column with a 35-yard field goal to end the game.

Look for Schaub and Johnson to absolutely roast the Cowboys defense if all goes according to plan. At the moment this duo is reminiscent of the type of connection that Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison once had.

A lot of the game will depend on how the Texans play defensively. While the team is a bit underrated defensively, they have to be aware that the Cowboys are itching for a breakout game. If the defense comes in overconfident or unprepared, it could be the difference between going 3-0 or 2-1 through three games in the season.

Game Lines: Looking at the records, one would tend to think the Texans would be favored. Looking at the play on the field, one would think the Texans would be favored huge. Well, the Texans are favored but only by 3 points, the margin that home field advantage typically represents. Other NFL Weekly Betting Odds have the over/under currently set at 47 points.

NFL ATS Betting Trends: The Cowboys are 5-11 ATS in their last 16 road games and 1-5 in their last 6 games played on grass. Further NFL Betting Trends show the Cowboys are just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss. Positive trends for the Cowboys would be that they’re 4-1 ATS in their last five Week 3 games.

In their last 4 games overall, the Texans are 3-0-1 ATS and 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games played on grass. While trends look promising, keep in mind that Texans 2-5 in their last seven week 3 games and 2-6-2 in their last 10 games following an ATS win.

NFL Straight Up Betting Trends: In Dallas’ last 6 games on the road, they’re just 2-4 straight up. That trend doesn’t look good when Houston is 5-0 straight up in their last 5 games played as well as being 5-2 straight up in their last 7 games played at home.

NFL Over/Under Betting Trends: The betting trends as they relate to the over/under aren’t overwhelming in either direction. For the Cowboys, the under is the predominant trend.

Under is 4-0 in Cowboys last 4 road games
Under is 4-1 in Cowboys last 5 games following an ATS loss
Under is 4-1 in Cowboys last 5 games as a road dog
Under is 4-1 in Cowboys last 5 games as a dog

For the Texans, the over seems to be the predominant trend.

Over is 3-0-1 in Texans last 4 games overall
Over is 3-0-1 in Texans last 4 games played on grass
Over is 4-0 in Texans last 4 Week 3 NFL games
Over is 19-7 in Texans last 26 games in September

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