The New Orleans Saints open the season against the Houston Texans in what will be anything but an easy victory on Monday Night Football.
The New Orleans Saints did not get an easy opponent scheduled for the first game of the season and instead have to host a playoff team and division-winner in the Houston Texans. In fact, the Texans are one of four playoff teams that the Saints open the season against.
What is even crazy is that the team, despite being the best team in the NFL record-wise the last two years, has not won the first game of the season since 2013. One of the league’s best teams has never been in the undefeated conversation, at least in the last half-decade.
Despite the Saints’ track record with the first game of the year and the fact that the Texans are a playoff team, the Saints still open as pretty heavy favorites. Vegas has the Saints as seven-point favorites, which is a very lofty line for Week 1, especially with two playoff teams.
Yes, the Saints are the home team, but it is still strange to see Vegas open the odds this lopsided. It is almost like they know something that we don’t know…
So, we decided to break it down in each area of the field. Here is how the New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans stack up, starting with the special teams unit.
Special teams: Advantage, Saints
There really is not much to write about in terms of special teams but the Saints have the noticeable advantage. Wil Lutz is a better kicker than Ka’imi Fairbairn. Lutz made 93.3 percent of his field goals, which included being perfect within 40 yards, while Fairbairn made 88.1 percent while also being perfect within 40.
The Saints also averaged about 17 more return yards per game last season than the Texans. A marginal difference, but a difference nonetheless.