Houston Texans @ Cincinnati Bengals
Start-time: Friday 15 September, 01:25 BST
TV: Live on Sky Sports Action & Main Event
For the Bengals...
The boo birds were out early and often for Bengal QB Andy Dalton last week. Despite having taken his team to four straight playoff appearances, he failed to win any of those games and the natives are restless.
When you look at his numbers on Sunday though, you can see why. His QBR was 0.6, which is pretty bad to say the least. To put it in context, it is the third worst game any Quarterback has had since the stat was introduced in 2006. Ouch. Four interceptions and a fumble will do that to you though.
Key play-maker AJ Green was unable to get involved in the offense, catching just five passes for 74 yards. Only two other players had more than one reception.
The rushing game was almost as stagnant. Three different players lined up to run the ball but in 21 carries between them, they accounted for 75 yards at 3.6 yd/carry.
Sunday was not good and in the short week they play what, on paper, looks like a better defense. However, the difference between what we think a team looks like and how they actually play is distinct.
For the Texans...
That Texans D I was referencing just now is where I start when looking at the away side. How does a team with JJ Watt on one side and Jadeveon Clowney on the other give up 29 points to the lousy Jacksonville Jaguars?
As a Jags fan, I actually sat and watched this game live on Sunday evening. In all my years watching the NFL, I don't think I've been more shocked at how poor a defense was. How can you not force turnover machine Blake Bortles into throwing at least one pick?
Away from the debacle on that side of the ball, on offense head coach Bill O'Brien didn't stick with his starter long. Tom Savage was nowhere to be seen after the interval as first-round rookie out of Clemson DeShaun Watson came into the game.
It is no surprise that he'll start the game on Thursday night. The offense moved better with him at the controls. The pick he threw was a bad read but the TD drive he orchestrated for their only points of the game was smooth.
Lamar Miller ran for 65 yards on 17 attempts against the Jags. That isn't stellar but with a more mobile QB, expect some more gaps to open up for him to rush into up in Ohio.
The Texans are a long [3.4] to win straight up on the Exchange and I'm very surprised you can get such a price. Both teams were shocking in Week One but I'm not sure just how long the crowd will back Andy Dalton. If he starts badly then the atmosphere at Paul Brown Stadium could get poisonous.
As I like the Texans to win without the points, I'm clearly taking them with 6.5 that is being offered as the starting number. Remember this year the Exchange offers you the chance to choose your handicap, so find the number you like and place your bets accordingly.
The over/under has been set at 38 points and, boy, that is low. Yet between them, they could only muster ten points in total on Sunday. Take the under.
I always like a small play on a touchdown scorer to keep it interesting. DeShaun Watson at 14/1 to score first with a rush is tempting. He scored 26 TDs in college using his feet instead of his arm.
3pt Back Houston to win straight up on the Moneyline at [3.4] on the Exchange
2pt Back under 38.0pts at [1.96] on the Exchange
1pt Back DeShaun Watson to score first at 14/1 on the Sportsbook