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Houston, TX - With a win last weekend, the Houston Texans salvaged some hope that they can save their season. The Detroit Lions', meanwhile, looks more lost than ever.

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The Texans look to build on their first victory of the year Sunday when they host the winless Lions, a team in turmoil after losing its quarterback and one of its top receivers.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Texans –9.5 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for Sunday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 65% of bets for this game have been placed on Texans –9.5 (View NFL Football bet percentages).

After going 8-8 last season for the first non-losing finish in the franchise's six-year history, Houston (1-4) expected to keep building in 2008. A brutal early schedule didn't do the Texans any favors, however, and the club lost its first four games against teams that are currently a combined 15-6.

Houston, though, ended its skid last Sunday, overcoming an early 14-3 deficit and using a three-yard touchdown run from quarterback Matt Schaub with three seconds remaining to beat Miami 29-28.

"I think everybody's demeanor picks up," Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "We're feeling very confident now that we can get used to winning. You have to get that feeling of getting used to winning in the locker room and just let it carry on week to week."

Texans coach Gary Kubiak is just as hopeful that the team can turn its season around, but he won't be satisfied with a repeat of last week's performance.

"We know for a fact, I don't have to tell our guys, we'll have to play better than we did yesterday to beat them," Kubiak said Monday. "We've got to continue to clean up our football and clean up what we're doing to have a chance to continue to be successful."

It's safe to say the Texans' attitude toward their slow start is brighter than that of the Lions (0-5), the only winless team in the NFC.

Detroit's frustrating season got even bleaker after a 12-10 loss at Minnesota on Sunday dropped the Lions to 0-5 for the second time in three seasons.

Already in danger of its first 0-6 start since it lost its first 12 games in 2001, Detroit placed quarterback Jon Kitna on injured reserve with a back injury Tuesday, ending his season, and then traded Pro Bowl receiver Roy Williams to Dallas for draft picks.

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew, who took over after Matt Millen was fired Sept. 24, defended both moves, saying the team doctors made the decision on Kitna, and claiming the trade isn't an indication the team is giving up on this season.

"I don't think so," he said. "In this case, we move one player in a position of strength that we have on this football team. ... We still have Calvin (Johnson), we still have Shaun (McDonald), we still have Mike Furrey, and we can get those guys the ball."

The Lions haven't done a very good job of that yet this season. They're 30th in the league with 252.8 total yards per game and 24th with 175.0 through the air.

It could be tough to improve on those numbers with inexperienced quarterback Dan Orlovsky under center. In his first career start last Sunday, he completed 12 of 21 passes for 150 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. However, he also accidentally ran out of bounds in the end zone for a safety in the first quarter, which proved to be a critical play in the close game.

"Just a dumb play by me," he said.

The Texans have had their own struggles at the quarterback position. Schaub has seven interceptions in four games - two shy of his total from last season, when he started 11 games.

"Your team goes as he goes," said Kubiak, whose team has 13 total turnovers, second-most in the league. "For us to get to where we want to go, he's got to continue to handle those things better and better.

"We haven't protected the ball and they know that. If Matt is going to be a 10-, 12-, 13-year starter in this league, he's going to have to learn from these things and he's going to have to understand that he has to protect the ball better. If he can do these things ... the sky is the limit."

Houston lost its only previous meeting with Detroit 28-16 on the road on Sept. 19, 2004.

Top Betting Trends:
All games in this series since 1992
DETROIT is 1-0 against the spread versus HOUSTON since 1992
DETROIT is 1-0 straight up against HOUSTON since 1992
1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Key Player Injuries
[QB] Dan Orlovsky is upgraded to probable - Ankle - 10/08/08
[TE] Dan Campbell IR - Hamstring - 09/09/08
[FB] Jon Bradley IR - Shoulder - 08/20/08
[CB] Stanley Wilson IR - Achilles - 09/04/08
[OT] George Foster missed last game, "?" - Knee - 10/05/08
[WR] Aveion Cason IR - Ankle - 08/31/08
[OG] Stephen Peterman missed last game, "?" - Hand - 10/05/08
[QB] Jon Kitna injured last game, "?" - Back - 10/08/08
[CB] Travis Fisher is "?" - Knee - 10/08/08
No significant injuries.

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Posted: 10/15/08 7:25 PM

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