Hurricane Season Causing NFL Reshuffles
The opening of the 2017-18 NFL regular season has arrived slap-bang in the middle of hurricane season. While Kiwi punters are considering their bets for Thursday’s opening games, teams on the south coast are considering contingency plans to deal with the extreme weather. The teams most affected at this stage are the Houston Texans and the Miami Dolphins.
Houston were scheduled to host the 2017 Governor’s Cup, their annual state showdown with the Dallas Cowboys, on 31 August, but the game was cancelled after Hurricane Harvey flooded the city. Houston’s NRG Stadium sustained much less damage than that inflicted by Hurricane Katrina on the Louisiana Superdome in 2005, but with flooding and flood damage still closing much of the city to traffic, a home game doesn’t seem feasible this week.
It looks like the Texans will swap home/away games with the Jacksonville Jaguars, so they’ll play Sunday’s opener in Jacksonville, Florida, which is out of the projected path of Hurricane Irma. Their return game on 17 December would then switch to Houston. The Texans’ next home game is scheduled for 1 October against the Tennessee Titans, by which time it is hoped that clean-up operations along the Texas coast will be complete.
Miami in Path of Hurricane Irma
Latest computer weather models based on satellite data suggest that Hurricane Irma will continue due west across Cuba and move far enough north to catch the south of Florida. Unless it veers sharply to the north in the next day or two, it looks like the powerful Category 4 storm will strike Miami on Sunday: when the Dolphins are supposed to be opening their NFL account against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Officials will have to wait until closer to the weekend before making a decision, but another home/away swap may be the solution, as Tampa Bay is expected to be out of Irma’s direct path. So is Orlando, and the city’s Camping World Stadium is available this weekend. The Saints are playing away this week as well, so New Orleans is also a possible host city.
Postponing the game would rob the two teams of a bye week later in the season, but another solution may be to play their opening game on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, before Hurricane Irma makes landfall. Betting fans hoping to put a punt on the Houston or Miami games should keep an eye on the weather news as the weekend approaches.