Packers vs. Texans Odds & Picks: Deshaun Watson Can Out-Duel Aaron Rodgers
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Deshaun Watson
Packers vs. Texans Odds
The Green Bay Packers will head to Houston after dropping their first game of the season at Tampa Bay last week.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense were shut down by the Buccaneers, as they were able to score only 10 points and gain 201 yards in defeat. They’ll have have a good opportunity to get their offense back on track against one of the NFL’s worst defenses.
On the other side, this season has gone about as bad as possible for the Texans. However, the NFL did them no favors as far as scheduling was concerned. Houston’s first six opponents are a combined 21-11 so far. Things have been so bad that ownership decided to fire Bill O’Brien after starting with an 0-4 record.
Houston was so close to getting its season back on track last Saturday, but ended up losing to the Tennessee Titans in overtime. The Texans must win Sunday or any minuscule chance they have of making the playoffs is gone.
Green Bay Packers
Outside of last weekend’s performance, Rodgers and the Packers offense have been on fire. They’ve been one of the more balanced offenses in the NFL, ranking inside the top 10 in both passing and rushing success (per Sharp Football Stats).
However, the Bucs put out the blueprint on how to stop Rodgers, which is to pressure him. The Bucs hit Rodgers a total of 13 times, including eight sacks, which was a major reality check for Rodgers, considering he was hit only 12 times over his previous four games.
Things aren’t going to get any easier, because Rodgers will be without starting left tackle David Bakhtiari and wide receiver Allan Lazard. Starting running back Aaron Jones is reportedly not expected to play. Even though Houston’s defense is below average, Rodgers could have a tough time moving with three of the Packers’ best offensive players potentially out.
Green Bay’s offense has masked a lot of the issues it has had on defense. The Packers have been terrible against both the run and pass, ranking in the bottom 10 of the NFL in both defensive rushing and passing success.
The Packers have dealt with a whole host of injury issues as well. There are currently five defensive starters either doubtful or questionable to play. With possibly two starters down in their secondary — Kevin King and Darnell Savage are both listed as doubtful — the Packers could have a big problem trying to stop Deshaun Watson, who leads the NFL in yards per pass attempt.
Watson has been playing out of his mind the last two games without Bill O’Brien at the helm. Watson has thrown for a total of 694 yards and seven touchdowns in those two games. Suffice it to say, it looks like he’s enjoying life away from his former coach.
Watson has also been the most efficient quarterback in the league this season, throwing for 8.9 yards per attempt. He should have no trouble moving the ball against the Packers shorthanded secondary.
Offseason addition David Johnson hasn’t really lived up to expectations through the first six games. He’s running the ball for only 4.0 yards per carry, which has led Houston to ranking 21st in rushing success. Even though Johnson hasn’t been great, he could see some improvement against a weak Packers run defense.
Much like Green Bay, the Texans’ defense has had all sorts of issues against both the run and pass. Houston is allowing a whopping 5.4 yards per rush, which is the league’s worst mark. However, with Jones questionable, that may not be as big of an issue for the Texans.
They also haven’t been very good against the pass, allowing 7.7 yards per attempt and ranking 24th in defensive passing success. Houston is also last in sack rate, which could be a big issue against the Packers.
If Houston can find a way to repeat what Tampa Bay was able to do against Green Bay, the Packers could be in trouble. That’s even more of a concern since they could be without their starting left tackle and running back.
Watson has been firing on all cylinders this season and it’s not out of the realm of possibility he could out-duel Rodgers.
I only have the Packers projected as -0.44 favorites on the road. That said, I think there’s some value in backing Watson and the Texans at +3.5. However, I would only play it down to +3 (shop real-time lines here).
PICK: Texans +3.5