San Francisco 49ers vs. Houston Texans: Week 2 NFL Preseason Pick: August 18th 2012
Week 2 NFL Preseason Pick: August 18th 2012
San Francisco 49ers vs. Houston Texans
Current line: Houston (-3/37)
San Francisco visits Houston from Reliant Stadium at 8pm on Saturday night. This game features two of the better defenses in the NFL. Houston registered a 30-7 rout in its only previous preseason encounter with the 49ers, which took place in San Francisco last summer. San Fran is coming off a 17-6 win at home last week against Minnesota, while Houston beat Carolina, 26-13 on the road last Saturday.
Weather: (retractable roof) 86 degrees and 40% chance of rain.
San Francisco is coming off a 13-3 SU season, and they were 12-3-1 ATS and 7-9 Under. Last year, they went 2-2 ATS in the preseason. Jim Harbaugh, also in his second season, is 2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS and 1-3 Under. The Texans are coming off a 10-6 SU season, they were 11-5 ATS and 5-11 Under. Last year, they went 3-1 ATS in the preseason. Gary Kubiak is 13-11 SU, 13-8-3 ATS and 16-7-1 Over in preseason.
Outlook: The Niners are coming off a magical 13-3 season as Jim Harbaugh turned the team around. QB Alex Smith threw a league-low five interceptions, managing the game and turning his career around. RB Frank Gore is still an elite back but adding Brandon Jacobs and speedy second-rounder LaMichael James. They also WR Randy Moss and Mario Manningham to a mediocre corps. The defense is one of the best in the game led by LB Patrick Willis.
San Francisco limited Minnesota to 208 total yards and 12 first downs in a 17-6 victory at Candlestick Park.
San Francisco had its powerful running game in midseason form as well against the Vikings, despite leading rusher Frank Gore inactive for the contest. The Niners piled up 260 yards on the ground, highlighted by a 78-yard dash to paydirt by backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the second quarter.
Kaepernick, San Francisco’s second-round selection in the 2011 draft, finished with 92 rushing yards on just three attempts while also securing his hold on the No. 2 signal-caller’s job. The athletic 24-year-old, who’s competing with Scott Tolzien and free-agent addition Josh Johnson to be the next in line behind Alex Smith, added 40 yards on 5-of-9 passing for the evening.
Tolzien served as the third quarterback in last week’s win and completed 10- of-13 throws for 84 yards and an interception, with Harbaugh stating that Johnson will assume that role for Saturday’s tilt.
The 49ers did come out of the game with a couple of notable injuries, however. Pass-rushing terror Aldon Smith suffered a bruised hip in the first quarter and won’t play this week as a result, while tight end Delanie Walker aggravated an existing knee problem that could keep him out the remainder of the preseason.
Gore was one of four San Francisco regulars rested in the opener, along with All-Pro defensive lineman Justin Smith, wide receiver Mario Manningham and kicker David Akers. All are expected to be back for this game.
Randy Moss was in uniform for the 49ers in the veteran wide receiver’s first outing since returning from a one-year absence from football, but played only four snaps and did not have a pass thrown his way.
The Texans are looking for bigger and better things in 2012. They accomplished a lit last year considering QB Matt Schaub suffered a season-ending Lisfranc injury in Week 10 and had to go into postseason with T.J. Yates at quarterback. With Schaub, Arian Foster (1,224yds) and a healthy Andrew Johnson, who missed nine games with hamstring injuries, the Texans could rival the Patriots in the AFC. They ranked in the top five in pass and rush defense without injured LB Mario Williams, who is off to Buffalo in free agency. They just need to stay healthy which means playing their stars sparingly in preseason.
Houston racked up eight sacks and yielded a mere 137 total yards in last weekend’s 26-13 triumph at Carolina, with rookie first-round pick Whitney Mercilus and inside linebacker Tim Dobbins leading the charge with 1 1/2 sacks apiece.
The Texans dominated on that side of the ball even with two key members, inside linebacker Brian Cushing (illness) and end J.J. Watt (elbow), unable to participate. Cushing is probable for this week’s test, but Watt won’t play at all during the preseason and the line will also be without nose tackle Shaun Cody, who injured his back against the Panthers.
Houston’s offense gets one of its playmakers back as well, with No. 1 receiver Andre Johnson cleared for duty after being held out of the Carolina game with a mild groin strain. The five-time Pro Bowler appeared in just seven regular- season games last season due to hamstring problems.
Schaub, coming off an injury-shortened season of his own, saw his first action since last November but wasn’t overly sharp, hitting on just 3-of-6 attempts for 52 yards and throwing an interception. The Texans did get a boost from their special teams, however, with speedster Trindon Holliday taking back a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
San Francisco: TE Delanie Walker (knee) is out indef. Houston: WR Andre Johnson (groin) is ?
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