Before April’s NFL draft, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said that any team that passed on quarterback Deshaun Watson would be like the NBA teams that passed on Michael Jordan.
“I don’t know how to articulate the type of greatness that’s inside of him. … that will, that drive,” Swinney said. “You can’t coach that, and that’s what I want to make sure I articulate. This guy is brilliant between the ears, and he’s special in his heart.”
Watson has been nothing short of sensational in his first three starts for the Houston Texans, who traded up in the draft to select him with the 12th overall pick.
He broke loose for a highlight-reel 49-yard touchdown run to key Houston’s 13-9 win over the Bengals in Week 2, then almost became the first rookie quarterback to beat Bill Belichick’s Patriots at home, throwing for 301 yards and two TDs in a 36-33 loss.
In Watson’s first start in Houston on Sunday, he became the first rookie quarterback since Fran Tarkenton in 1961 to finish with four TD passes and a rushing TD in one game as the Texans trounced the Titans 57-14.
It appears Houston has finally solved its quarterback problem. For Watson’s next trick, he’ll try to make the Kansas City Chiefs’ perfect record disappear on a national stage Sunday night in Houston.
Kansas City is coming off a short week after beating the Redskins 29-20 on Monday night and will be tested by a Houston defense ranked sixth in the league and led by Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt.
We’re backing the prime-time home underdog, though the game is essentially a pick’em with the Texans (2-2) getting 1 point from the Chiefs (4-0).
Four more plays for Week 4 (home team in CAPS):
GIANTS (-3) over Chargers: The sharp money is all over Los Angeles, as the Chargers always play close games. But they always lose them, having lost nine straight overall. New York has lost on late field goals the past two weeks and will finally put it together on both sides of the ball to win this battle of desperate winless teams.
EAGLES (-6) over Cardinals: In a strong historical trend that also supports our play on the Giants, West Coast teams that play the early game on the East Coast have struggled against the spread. Arizona went 0-4 in that spot last season and also dropped its opener at Detroit this year. The Cardinals haven’t recovered from the loss of running back David Johnson, and quarterback Carson Palmer has been sacked a league-high 17 times. Arizona has two overtime wins and two double-digit losses. Philadelphia is a team on the rise that’s ranked third in total offense behind second-year quarterback Carson Wentz and third in run defense.
LIONS (-2½) over Panthers: Detroit (3-1) is a half-yard shy of being the NFC’s only unbeaten team. Golden Tate was ruled just short of the goal line on the final play of the Lions’ 30-26 home loss to the Falcons. Detroit bounced back to beat the Vikings on the road Sunday and will return home to face a Carolina team coming off a big win at New England. The Lions are tied for the league lead in takeaways with 11, and quarterback Matthew Stafford is earning his keep with seven TDs and one interception.
Jaguars (+8) over STEELERS: Jacksonville (2-2) has alternated wins and losses to start the season. The Jaguars have always played the Steelers tough, covering 11 of their past 16 meetings. The underdog is 8-1 ATS in the past nine meetings. In a matchup of two of the NFL’s top defenses, we’ll take Jacksonville to keep it close.
Last week: 2-3 against the spread