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The Crescent City will get its first look at its defending Super Bowl champions this season when they debut at the Superdome, as the New Orleans Saints play the Houston Texans.
Houston Texans @ New Orleans Saints (+1)
Saturday, August 21st
8:00 ET, Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Texans Notes: Things appear to be set for the passing game for the Texans in 2010. Perhaps there was never really much of a doubt after they finished with the top rated passing unit in the league last year. QB Matt Schaub came out of the blocks and completed five of his six passes against the Arizona Cardinals, including a 44 yard touchdown strike to WR Andre Johnson. Johnson, who is significantly happier now that he has a new contract, had three catches for 59 yards and that touchdown in the opening quarter. The defense looked sharp as well, as DE Mario Williams picked up two sacks as a part of an effort in which the 'D' was pitching a shutout for three quarters. However, there wasn't much else to be happy about. RB Ben Tate suffered a potentially serious ankle injury after just two carries, which could put his 2010 season in danger. Between Tate's injury and the fumbling problems of Steve Slaton which reared their ugly head once again last week, HC Gary Kubiak is running out of rushing options. Expect to see more out of RB Arian Foster after his strong ending to the 2009 season and could be in line for a big year this season in the Lone Star State. On the injury front, both LB Xavier Adibi and WR/KR Trindon Holliday are questionable. Holliday had a decent debut for Houston, returning four kicks for 86 yards in his professional debut. The Texans blew their 16-0 lead through three quarters by allowing 19 unanswered in the fourth.
Saints Notes: You don't normally end up getting revved up for a preseason game, but this could be a big exception this week for the Saints. They aren't exactly hanging their banners for their Super Bowl triumph quite yet, but to come home for the first time after the city's first championship has to be exhilarating, especially for the first teamers. QB Drew Brees got his campaign this year off to a good start, as he completed nine of his 13 passes for 55 yards in limited action in a 27-24 defeat at the New England Patriots. Things for backup QBs Patrick Ramsey and Chase Daniel didn't go as well, but both were able to put points on the board. RB Reggie Bush notched the first score of the season on a two yard touchdown run in the second quarter. However, that was the only New Orleans score on a 24-7 run by the Pats that opened the game up. Still, the backups were good enough to bring the team back to a 24-24 tie with right around two minutes to play. A field goal with less than a minute left sent the Saints to defeat, though. New Orleans was outgained 329-305 in the game, but the offensive line looked okay, giving up just one sack. The defensive line picked up a pair of sacks, but the 'D' as a whole failed to force a turnover. For a defense that thrived on taking chances and creating turnovers last season, seeing a goose egg on the board in that department, even if in the preseason, is unacceptable.
The Final Word: There is just going to be too much riding in this one for the Saints to be beaten. There is no reason for them to be underdogs in this game, even if the defense does end up looking shoddy at best. Expect Brees and the offense to stay on the field just a tad longer than most starters would at this juncture of the season, as the city of New Orleans would love to open up with a 'W' by the Bayou. Expect the fans clad in black and gold to see just that with a comfortable NFL preseason betting triumph.
Prediction: Saints 27 – Texans 14