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Buy or Sell?
by ASA - 10/10/2008
NFL Buy or Sell?
Each week I will focus on teams you might want to â€œbuyâ€쳌 or â€œsellâ€쳌 in the short term based on a number of factors including scheduling, how they are currently playing, injuries, etcâ€¦ Here are my recommendations in this weekâ€™s article.
BUY â€“ Houston Texans
This â€˜buyâ€™ recommendation on the Texans wonâ€™t take affect until after this Sundayâ€™s game with Miami. Thatâ€™s because of Houstonâ€™s back to back emotional defeats @ Jacksonville and at home vs. Indianapolis. Houston lost by 3 to the Jags in overtime despite out playing the home team for much of the game. We all know what happened in last Sundayâ€™s debacle as they blew a 17-point lead in the final four minutes of the game because of bone headed turnovers and lost 31-27 to the Colts. Thus, one could expect their psyche to possibly be a bit fragile this weekend but I like this team in the future.
They are light years better than what their 0-4 record might indicate. Their schedule has been brutal starting the season with three road games @ Pittsburgh, @ Tennessee and @ Jacksonville, three of the better teams in the AFC. Their home game originally scheduled with Baltimore back on September 14th was washed out due to Hurricane Ike so last Sunday was their first game at Reliant Stadium this season. They now have a nice schedule ahead with three more home games on consecutive weekends vs. Miami, Detroit and Cincinnati.
Houston has some weapons on offense with two capable QBâ€™s with Matt Schaub and Sage â€œthe human turnoverâ€쳌 Rosenfels. Sorry Sage I couldnâ€™t resist as the Texans were one of my plays last Sunday. If RB Ahman Green can stay healthy the Texans have a nice 1-2 punch there along with Steve Slaton. WR Andre Johnson is certainly one of the best and most under rated receivers in the NFL and he gives either quarterback a legitimate playmaker on the outside. Their defensive numbers are a bit deceiving. They rank near the bottom of the league in points allowed, however all of those scores cannot be hung directly on this stop unit. In fact, 21 of the 130 points theyâ€™ve allowed have been defensive or special teams TDâ€™s and have had nothing to do with the defense. Not only that, the Houston offense has turned the ball over a whopping nine times already this year many of which have put the defense in short field situations. I like their defensive line led by former #1 draft choice Mario Williams. Houston was much maligned by many for drafting Williams ahead of Reggie Bush a few years ago, however he has absolutely proven his worth. Williams actually had 18 sacks in his last 20 games dating back to last season. That puts him among the elite defensive ends in the game.
Once this team gets over the â€œshockâ€쳌 of their 0-4 start, I think they can be a sleeper team. Remember, they were 8-8 last year and beat two playoff teams down the stretch taking down Jacksonville and Tampa Bay. Their upcoming home slate is conducive to a nice run and once they get rid of the turnover bug, watch out for Houston.
SELL - Pittsburgh Steelers
While the Steelers will most likely be one of the best teams in the AFC as the season wears on, now might be the time to â€œfadeâ€쳌 them. Over the next few weeks, this team has a very difficult schedule and they are banged up at some key positions.
Pittsburgh is known for their hard nosed, run the football style which will have to change a bit over the next few weeks due to their injuries at the running back position. Willie Parker could possibly be back in the next few weeks, however Rashard Mendenhall will be sidelined for a longer period of time. QB Ben Roethlisberger has a bad shoulder and it becomes more and more obvious with each game. The offensive line took a hit when guard Kendall Simmons, who has started 50 games for the Steelers over the last 3+ seasons, went down with an ankle injury. Partly because of the nicks on that side of the ball, the offense has really struggled and ranks near the bottom of the NFL in most major categories.
The Men of Steel have a bye this week but then play two of their next three games on the road. Their tilt @ Cincinnati coming out of the break might seem like a gimme, however they better be ready to play because the Bengals are actually improving. Cincy will view this as one of their biggest games of the year and believe it or not, it looks like Marvin Lewis actually has this team putting forth maximum effort. They have taken both Dallas and the NY Giants to the wire in two of their last three games. After that for Pitt, itâ€™s a home against the Giants and off to Washington. No easy task playing possibly the two best teams in the NFL on back to back weekends.
So, while Iâ€™m by no means packing it in on the Steelers this year, their rough scheduling stretch and injuries throw up the â€œsellâ€쳌 sign for me at least over the next few weeks.