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Texans Take Keenum Into Another Tough Road Game This Season

Posted by Stan Simmons on 2/4/2014 5:09:43 AM

The challenge of winning on the road in the NFL is substantial enough to begin with. Winning on the road with a rookie quarterback who has not even played half a season is even greater.

Houston Texans @ Arizona Cardinals – Sunday, November 10

Betting line: Cardinals -3

Why Houston Will Win

This is an unexpected situation, and for that reason, it is an intriguing football betting test by any stretch of the imagination. Who would have thought that the Texans – 11-1 through the first 12 games of the 2012 season – would be under .500 in November of this season, scrambling not even for a playoff spot, but just to become an 8-8 (non-losing) team by the end of the regular season? These are difficult times for the Texans and head coach Gary Kubiak, who has a lot of work to do to shore up his standing as the coach who can truly lead the Houston franchise to the AFC Championship Game and, beyond that, the Super Bowl.

Yet, for all of Houston’s very real deficiencies, the Texans might be in a solid position to win this game against Arizona. Yes, the Texans are sending a rookie quarterback (Case Keenum) onto the field in this game, but Arizona’s offense under quarterback Carson Palmer is quite weak in its own right. When Houston had Matt Schaub on the field as its starting quarterback, the Texans had a signal caller who was unable to avoid throwing an interception each and every Sunday. Schaub threw a stream of interceptions that were returned for touchdowns, burying the Texans week after week. With Keenum in at quarterback, Houston now has a chance to play high-percentage, low-mistake football in which it leans on field position and uses its defense to leverage situations toward its advantage. Keenum can be trusted with the ball more than Arizona can be with Palmer, another quarterback who has plenty of experience but does not translate that experience into airtight and sensible play. Houston’s defense can take control of this game and physically overpower Arizona’s offensive line. Palmer crumbles under pressure, providing the gateway for the Texans on Sunday afternoon.

Why Arizona Will Win

The Cardinals know that their offense isn’t very strong, but they are going up not just against a rookie quarterback, but a rookie who has not been starting since the beginning of the season. Case Keenum was introduced to regular season NFL competition in the middle of October. He has played reasonably well in his initial starts, providing encouragement for the Texans and their coaching staff. However, the law of the NFL jungle generally states that rookie quarterbacks get taken apart at the start of their careers. If they start off well in their first game, they immediately build a track record, a series of inclinations and tendencies that can be picked apart by opposing defensive coordinators on film. Arizona’s defense is the Cardinals’ strength. The Cardinals can look at what Keenum has done in his first games as an NFL starter and use their discoveries to form the right game plan for Keenum. Houston’s offense could get destroyed, and Arizona will have a victory as a result.

Who Will Win

It is weird to say this, but the analysis seems to back it up: Case Keenum is less likely than Carson Palmer to commit a turnover at this stage of the 2013 NFL season. Go with the Texans for this particular reason.

NFL Betting Pick: Texans

Get the latest inside skinny on the week 10 lines for the NFL at the online betting site you prefer.


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