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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 12:23 AM

Usually the Houston Texans lose games like this! Had this been a regular season meeting in 2010, the NY Jets would have marched down the field in the final minute and stolen a 23-20 victory. Houston fans know that story all too well. That actually happened in New York last year with these teams but the score was 30-27! VSM handicapper Coach Ron Meyer talked about it earlier today. But, maybe because the game didn’t matter…and because the Jets dropped a touchdown pass on their final drive, Houston hung on for a 20-16 victory.

 

Some quick numbers…

 

HOUSTON 20, NY JETS 16

Yards-Per-Play: NY Jets 4.3, Houston 4.4

Turnovers: NY Jets 1, Houston 1

 

A very evenly matched game in the big picture. The Jets won total yardage 310-221 because they won time of possession 36 minutes to 24. If you break it down by per-play production, it was a virtual dead heat. Both of those turnovers turned out to be important because they set up a cheap TD for the other side. Houston had a 14-yard TD drive after a Greg McElroy fumble. The Jets had a 20-yard drive after a Matt Leinart interception. The longest TD drive of the night was 39 yards on the game winner for Houston.

 

Some interesting developments in the quarterback data...

 

Greg McElroy (Jets): 23-39-0-208, for a passer rating of 82.0

TJ Yates (Houston): 6-12-0-97, for a passer rating of 77.4

Matt Leinart (Houston): 8-14-1-78, for a passer rating of 67.0

 

McElroy, a rookie out of Alabama, lost a key fumble that isn’t counted in passer rating, but he also had a TD pass dropped. A decent outing overall by rookie standards. He showed leadership if not composure in the final minute drive that didn’t hit paydirt. Yates, a rookie out of North Carolina was in line with what we’ve seen other newcomers do this week. Leinart who should be fighting to save his career after not getting any snaps last season…and being a major disappointment since joining the league in 2006…had the numbers of a rookie. No development!

 

Some perspective on Leinart…

 

FORMER USC QUARTERBACKS

Leinart: 28 years old…3,893 career passing yards

Sanchez: 24 years old…5,735 career passing yards

 

The “age 28” career numbers will show a massive edge for Sanchez. Leinart may be watching all that happen on TV with the rest of us if he doesn’t play better than this the rest of the month.

 

Congrats to Jim Hurley’s Network, Wayne Root, Kelson Sturgeon, and Coach Ron Meyer for their pointspread winners on Houston -2.5 vs. the Jets. They exploited that strong home field trend that dominated the opening weekend. If you hadn't noticed, home favorites cashed the last seven games on the schedule rotation.

 

*Jim Hurley is now 4-2 for the Preseason, 67% winners out of the gate. Mathew Hurley keeps telling you about “the dollars of August” on those home page videos. Are you listening?

 

*Wayne Root is 3-2 thus far in football, 60% winners in the Preseason. His unit performance is even stronger than the record would suggest because the only “Billionaire” play so far was a winner on Cleveland over Green Bay.

 

*Kelso Sturgeon, the dean of Vegas handicappers, won another 10-unit release for his football clients, and is also 3-2 thus far for a 60% mark.

 

*Coach Ron Meyer has now won three straight 20-stars, with Houston joining Chicago and New Orleans in the big play winner’s circle.

 

Many VSM baseball plays were late finishers on the West Coast. We can tell you as of press time that oddsmaker Nick Bogdanovich swept the bases with Chicago (-120) over Houston 4-3, and Milwaukee (-160) over the LA Dodgers 3-0. If there’s more news to report, we’ll catch up with that late Tuesday evening.

 

In pennant race developments…

 

*In the AL East, the NY Yankees moved back into a first place tie with Boston thanks to a 7-4 win at Kansas City. Boston was idle. Both superpowers are 73-46 heading into Tuesday action.

 

*In the AL Central, Detroit fell to Minnesota 9-6. This game was more notable for Jim Thome’s 600th career home run than it’s stature in the pennant race though. Detroit still leads by two games over idle Cleveland.

 

*In the NL Central, we already told you that Milwaukee beat the Dodgers. St. Louis lost a critical game at Pittsburgh 6-2 to fall six games back. This is on the verge of NOT being a pennant race any more! Six games is a lot to make up in six weeks if the division leader doesn’t faceplant. Milwaukee has won four in a row, 10 of 11, and 18 of 20 to pull away from the Redbirds. Fantastic run from the Brew Crew, who have added stable rotation pitching to their potent offensive attack.

*In the NL West, San Francisco lost a heartbreaker at Atlanta. They carried a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the 9th inning, only to see ace reliever Brian Wilson allow three runs to lose the game. The Giants are now 2.5 games behind idle Arizona. San Francisco is 5-12 its last 17 games.

 

The huge Texas Rangers/LA Angels series began late Monday. Look for expanded coverage of that series and the remaining race in the AL West Tuesday morning in the Network Notebook right here in the VSM blog.

 

Thanks for being a blog reader. If you have any comments about football or baseball action Monday that you think will help other readers with their Las Vegas bets down the road, feel free to post those below.

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