Saturday August 11, 2012 – Houston Texans @ Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers' offensive lineman Ryan Kalil had a full-page ad printed in a North Carolina newspaper that promised the Panthers fans a Super Bowl title this season. There are very few people in the football betting world who would take that bet, but Kalil was serious. The Panthers get to show the world a little bit of what Kalil is talking about when Carolina faces off against the Houston Texans in the first week of preseason play in the NFL. Kalil will only play as long as the first team offense plays, but he will be hearing about his prediction all night long.
The Houston Texans have been characteristically quiet and reserved all off-season. The sportsbook experts are wondering how the Houston defense will adjust to the loss of Mario Williams, but Williams was injured in week five of the 2011 season and the Houston defense played great. The injury that seemed to finish off the Texans last season was to quarterback Matt Schaub. With everyone on the team healthy and ready to go, the Texans look to compete for a spot in the AFC Championship game this year.
Ryan Kalil is a starter in Carolina and has a lot of faith in the other starters on the Panthers' roster. However, it is depth that wins preseason games and the Panthers are not that deep. The bookie software would give the Panthers a pass on losing one or two role players, but if a season-ending injury were to occur to a Cam Newton or Steve Smith, then the Panthers would be in big trouble. The Panthers will use this game to see how rookies such as inside linebacker Luke Kuechly and offensive tackle Amini Silatolu look in game situations, but Carolina knows its limitations and probably does not expect to come out of this game with a win.
One thing the Texans showed in 2011 is that the team is deep at almost every position. Last year's third-string quarterback T.J. Yates is sure to get promoted to second-string after his performance in the playoffs last year, and the Texans are interested to see what first round pick defensive end Whitney Mercilus can do in a game situation. But a sportsbook review of the Texans over the past few years shows that this is a well-coached and very organized team. The Texans will be a force to be reckoned with in 2012.
The Bottom Line
The first-string Carolina offense will be impressive and it will give the Texans trouble. But as the game wears on, the depth of the Houston roster should be able to take over and point this game in the direction of the Texans.
BSNblog Pick: Houston Texans