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Texans-Lions: Houston Maybe Just Might Win Two in a Row

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Hey Texans fans, are you ready for a winning streak?

No. Really.

The 1-4 Texans are taking on the 0-5 Detroit Lions in a sleep-inducing slugfest scheduled for 3:05 on Sunday afternoon at Reliant Stadium – for some reason Fox is making this one of the big national doubleheader games. And while I couldn’t see the Texans being favored over the Dolphins last week, I cannot only see the Texans being favored this weekend, I kind of want to know why they’re not favored by more than 9.5 points.

Let’s look at some of the factors regarding the Lions.

Matt Millen is out as the front office head, but this is still the team that he assembled. Starting QB Jon Kitna is out for the season. Star wide receiver – and probably the team’s best player – Roy Williams was just traded to the Dallas Cowboys. The Lions’ leading rusher is Kevin Smith with a grand total of 195 yards (an average of 39 yards per game). And head coach Rod Marinelli has a two-plus year record of 10-37.

And the Texans are only favored by 9.5 points. I don’t get it.

The Lions offense ranks 30th in the NFL in total yards per game with 252.8. They’re 30th in points per game with 15.2. The defense is 31st worst in the NFL in terms of points surrendered per game with 31.8, and they are dead last when it comes to total yards surrendered per game at 421.6 Hell, they allow opposing running games to average 250.6 yards per game. Ahman Green can have a good game against this defense – if he can stay healthy that is. And the Texans are only favored by 9.5 points.

The Lions QB this week is one Dan Orlovsky, who is making only his second career start and who, after coming in for the injured Kitna last week, ran out of the end zone for a safety. Meanwhile, Kitna is bitching that the team is trying to force him out of Detroit.

(An aside: Kitna is one of those real religious players – last year he said God cured him of a concussion. So did he ever consider that this is part of God’s plan for him? Or did he ever consider that since God has had him marooned with the Lions for several seasons that God just doesn’t like him?)

Yet, with all of this, the Texans are only favored by 9.5 points.

The Texans may have only won one game, but they battled the Titans, the league’s only undefeated team until late in the game. They took the Jaguars to overtime. They were leading the Colts late in the fourth quarter. They beat the Dolphins and their trick plays last week.

So why aren’t the Texans getting more respect?

Perhaps, like Richard Justice wrote, it’s got something to do with the fact that, even though the Texans are fifth in the NFL yards per game, they’re just 17th in points per game. And the fact that they’re tied for the NFL lead with eight interceptions, or that they are dead last with a minus-eight turnover ratio. Or that they are 21st in team passer rating. And they’re 23rd in yards allowed – they let a Dolphins team with no real passing game gain 370 yards last week, and they’re 30th in points allowed per game.

And let’s not even talk about Gary Kubiak’s continued inability to manage the clock and the dread we all feel whenever he decides to challenge a replay.

So now that I think about it, maybe the Texans really aren’t that much better than the Lions.

Sure, the Lions suck, but statistically, is there really that much of a difference? Well, is there that much of a difference to account for a 9.5 point spread?

On second thought, then maybe 9.5 is actually a bit too much. – John Royal

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