NFL Betting – Texans and Panthers Square Off in Preseason Debut :  Get a $900 Free bet on this game. Click Here For Info

Houston Texans @ Carolina Panthers – Saturday August 11, 2012 7:00PM EST

If you  bet on the Houston Texans last year to win then you probably had more faith in the Texans coaches than anything else. Houston was victimized by a string of injuries to key players that would have destroyed lesser teams. The Texans wound up making the playoffs and having a good showing for itself in the process. The team also discovered a new, reliable backup quarterback in T.J. Yates during that stretch as well. Houston is entering the 2012 season healthy and ready to compete.

The Carolina Panthers suddenly have a lot of expectations to live up to. Even the  experts were shocked when Carolina offensive lineman Ryan Kalil took out a full-page ad in a Carolina newspaper promising fans a Super Bowl title in 2012. While it is always great to have faith in your teammates, Kalil and his friends may have problems living up to those kinds of expectations. But the Panthers will be a better team in 2012 than it was in 2011, and that means a ray of hope for Panthers' fans.

Houston Texans

The experts were hesitant to give the Texans low Super Bowl odds because of the loss of linebacker Mario Williams to the Buffalo Bills in free agency. But the Texans played more than half the season without Williams last year, who was injured in week five, and the team did just fine. It wasn't the defensive injuries that slowed the Texans, it was the offensive injuries. Now that Houston feels like it has a little more depth on offense, the team can start to look towards the playoffs.

The Houston defense is in the capable hands of coordinator Wade Philips. The only time the Houston defense looked shaky last season was when Philips had to leave the team for a couple of weeks to have minor surgery done. Other than that, this is a deep and talented defense.

Carolina Panthers

What the Panthers need is an offensive line to block for Cam Newton. That is why the team drafted offensive tackle Amini Silatolu in the second round of the 2012 draft. The  football betting sites have seen quarterbacks like Newton before. They confuse defenses in their rookie years, but then falter later on. But for every Kordell Stewart that flops, there is a Michael Vick that succeeds. Newton's game is more than just running. He has an accurate and strong arm that will carry the team to victory.

In this game, the Panthers are going to see what it can do about evaluating the offensive talent and get some depth to help out Newton and wide receiver Steve Smith. The Panthers will also take long looks at the new defensive acquisitions the team made in the off-season.

The Bottom Line

The Texans are so deep on defense that it would take a fourth or fifth-string to start finding a weakness. The Panthers may be able to slow down the Texans' second and third-string offense, but that Houston defense will neutralize the Panthers' offense at all levels.

Pick: Houston Texans