NFL picks against the spread, Week 5: 49ers host Texans on Sunday Night Football

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

We break down NFL picks against the spread for Week 5 of the 2013 season, including a look at 49ers-Texans. New to Niners Nation? Sign up here and join the discussion!

We're back for another week of me making god-awful gambling picks. James (Raiders writer from Cover32.com) continues to outshine me, although given how poorly I seem to be doing, that's not exactly a tall order. I put in a very solid 6-9 performance this past week, while James was 7-7-1. I did get that 49ers pick correct, and as long as the 49ers win, I don't really care. It's not like I've got real money involved!

The San Francisco 49ers host the Houston Texans this week on Sunday Night Football. The 49ers are favorites, with the line opening around 6.5 to 7 points, and sticking right around there. Earlier in the week most felt the line was too high, and would come down.

The line likely opened higher than expected because of the Texans collapse against the Seahawks. They have had a few days to move past it, but you have to wonder what their psyche is, particularly that of quarterback Matt Schaub. He has thrown a pick-six in three straight games, and this last one completed the Seahawks comeback, and forced overtime. Will the Texans come out on fire, or will they be in a funk?

On the offensive side of the ball, the 49ers are going to need to figure out a way to hold off the Texans fearsome pass rush. J.J. Watt gets the most recognition, but Whitney Mercilus and Antonio Smith are not too shabby themselves. The Texans are tied for seventh in total sacks, but they rank second in Adjusted Sack Rate. Football Outsiders figures the rate using sacks (plus intentional grounding penalties) per pass attempt adjusted for down, distance, and opponent. This obviously does not factor in hurries and hits that don't result in grounding penalties, but it gives us some insight into their defensive line.

On the defensive side of the ball, the 49ers will likely find themselves dealing with a whole lot of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Given Matt Schaub's struggles, the wise course of action would seem to be a healthy serving of Foster, Tate and that zone blocking scheme. The 49ers shut down the Rams rushing attack, but we know the Texans bring much better rushing personal and scheme to the table. As Justin Smith said on Wednesday, the 49ers defense will need to mind the gaps and prevent cut-back lanes from opening up. It should make for an interesting chess match.

Games Spread Fooch James
Bills @ Browns Cle -4 Bills win outright Browns cover
Saints @ Bears NO -1 Bears win outright Saints cover
Patriots @ Bengals Pick 'Em Bengals cover Patriots cover
Lions @ Packers GB -7 Packers cover Packers cover
Seahawks @ Colts Sea -3 Seahawks cover Seahawks cover
Ravens @ Dolphins Mia -3 Bal wins outright Bal wins outright
Eagles @ Giants NYG -3 Giants cover Eagles cover
Jaguars @ Rams StL -11.5 Jaguars cover Jaguars cover
Chiefs @ Titans KC -3 Chiefs cover Chiefs cover
Panthers @ Cardinals Car -2 Cardinals win outright Panthers cover
Broncos @ Cowboys Den -8.5 Broncos cover Broncos cover
Texans @ 49ers SF -7 49ers cover 49ers cover
Chargers @ Raiders SD -4.5 Chargers cover Raiders win outright
Jets @ Falcons Atl -10 Falcons cover Falcons cover
TOTAL 20-25-2 23-22-1
LAST WEEK 6-9 7-7-1

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