Oct 27, 2017
Oct 27, 2017

NFL preview: Houston Texans at Seattle Seahawks

Live Texans vs. Seahawks odds

Have Houston solved their quarterback problem?

Will Seattle rely on their defence instead of Wilson?

Texans vs. Seattle betting: What do the stats suggest?

NFL preview: Houston Texans at Seattle Seahawks

We are fast approaching the halfway point in the NFL regular season. The Texans travel to Seattle in our highlight game for week 8 looking to stay in contention in the AFC South. The Texans vs. Seahawks odds suggest that Houston might struggle. Can they cause an upset? Read on for some Texans vs. Seahawks betting insight.

Live Texans vs. Seahawks odds

Have Houston solved their quarterback problem?

Houston entered the 2017 like many seasons that came before it, still seeking a passer on which the NFL’s youngest franchise could rely upon to augment an often solid, currently top ten defence.

It was no surprise to see the newly unveiled Texans take quarterback David Carr with the first pick of the 2002 draft, but as Carr’s passing and productivity regressed, they embarked on a largely fruitless quest to obtain a franchise quarterback.

Watson could help muster only seven and thirteen points respectively when faced against Jacksonville (for two quarters) and Cincinnati, the two top ten rated defences he has faced in the 2017.

Matt Schaub promised the most but was eventually traded, while last season saw the Texans foray into free agency with Brock Osweiller. Despite the big money, Osweiller posted the second worst passing performance of the season and left the Texans feeling compelled to trade up in the draft to take Deshaun Watson in the first round.

Watson betrayed his inexperience in a lacklustre pre-season, losing out on the starting role to veteran Tom Savage. But when introduced as early as the third quarter of week 1, he’s produced performances that promise much more than previous displays.

Watson’s yards per attempt passing efficiency is just above par when adjusted for the defences he’s faced. A huge step up from the 2016 Texans, who passed for just 80% of the yardage per pass attempt allowed by their opponents.

Watson’s willingness to run helps to place him currently at the top of ESPN’s advanced quarterback rating and on course for an elite season, although the season is not yet at halfway for the Texans and small samples can trend towards extremes.

Texans vs. Seahawks betting: Are the Texans on the up?

Houston bowed out of the postseason in the divisional round in 2016 despite having almost the league’s most insipid offence and a top five defence deprived of its cornerstone, JJ Watt for a large part through injury. The latter scenario has repeated in 2017 with Watts’ season-ending leg break in week 6.

This worthy postseason achievement, however needs to be placed in context.

They won the weak AFC South with a mere 9-7 record, but a losing Pythagorean record. They were assisted by a slew of narrow wins in half of their regular season games and then faced Oakland, shorn of their starting quarterback in the weakest of postseason wildcard contests, before being soundly beaten by the Patriots.

Watson’s yards per attempt passing efficiency is just above par when adjusted for the defences he’s faced.

Houston has played through six 2017 games with the unaccustomed luxury of an above average, if young and unpredictable offensive play caller, although the prodigious rate of points scoring appears to be an aberration that will cool with more games.

They’ve traded point for point in ultimately losing causes during high scoring encounters with the Patriots and Kansas City, the current respective two and three AFC seeds.

Defensively, the fundamentals of yardage allowed are both up to 2016’s high standards, although the Texans have yielded slightly more points than expected from their underlying stats.

They lie just outside the AFC seeding spots, despite trailing their south rivals in terms of games played following last week’s bye week, in a division that is now perhaps slightly more loaded with quality with the long-promised resurgence of Jacksonville, balanced by the continued absence of Andrew Luck in Indianapolis.

Will Seattle rely on their defence instead of Wilson?

Seattle also have outstanding quarterback issues to solve, but little blame should be attached to Russell Wilson.

He’s delivered postseason football in each of his five completed seasons since 2012 and has shown admirable resilience, despite regular season sack numbers that have topped 40 in all but his rookie year and an underfunded, mix and match offensive line that also allows Wilson to take increasing numbers of hits as blocking breaks down.

Considering the relative efficiencies and points records of each team from 2017, Seattle could be given around a 70% chance of winning straight up, the equivalent of a two field goal start for Houston.

As with Watson, Wilson also adds value with his running ability, but increasingly flight has become a necessity, rather than a considered choice.

Overall Wilson’s numbers have mostly placed him inside the top ten of quarterbacks for the season, but 2016 was the first time he slipped outside the elite seasonal performers.

He was still an efficiently above average passer, but the team’s running game was below par and regular season points scored fell to a low under Wilson’s leadership.

No longer were the Seahawks a supremely balanced combination of offensive and defensive threats and increasingly the latter unit proved the more important facet of the team.

Seattle were easier to pass against than they were to run on in 2016, whereas the reverse is true so far in 2017. But the difficulty which teams experience when turning possession into points remains a constant across the last six seasons.

The Seahawks allowed five fewer points per game to be scored against them than their opponent offences scored on average in 2016 and they improved this rate by half a point in the current campaign.

Texans vs. Seattle odds: What do the stats suggest?

Sunday’s game at Seattle’s fortress home field is an intriguing match-up between a consistently excellent, multi-faceted quarterback in Russell Wilson, coming off his least impressive season, largely due to factors not of his own making.

And a similarly multi-dimensional rookie, in Deshaun Watson, whose gaudy, small sample sized numbers currently eclipse the best of Wilson’s, but have largely been gathered against poor defences.

Watson could help muster only seven and thirteen points respectively when faced against Jacksonville (for two quarters) and Cincinnati, the two top ten rated defences he has faced in the 2017 regular season.

Stepping away from these two key individuals and considering the relative efficiencies and points records of each team from 2017, Seattle could be given around a 70% chance of winning straight up, the equivalent of a two field goal start for Houston.

More pertinent to Seattle, they have won 87% of regular season home games under Wilson and just 53% of road games. Perhaps implying that the often celebrated Seattle “12th Man” does enhance the Seahawks’ home field advantage beyond the usual generic value of three points, particularly through crowd noise, when the opposing offence is on the field. 

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