Green Bay Packers vs. Houston Texans Pick 10/25/20
Green Bay Packers (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS) v. Houston Texans (1-5 SU, 1-5 ATS)
NFL Week 7
When: Sunday, October 25 at 1 pm ET
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Point Spread: GB -3.5/HOU +3.5 (Find the top Sportsbooks)
Over/Under Total: 57
One of the best QB matchups of Week 7 takes place in Houston as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers head south to take on Deshaun Watson and the Texans. The Pack is stinging a bit after losing their first of the season last week, and they will look to take it out on a Houston team that has had its share of losses against quality opponents. It would be easy to look at the 1-5 record and assume the Texans are just not that good, but four of their losses have come to KC, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and Tennessee, who have a combined 20-2 record. Even after a weak performance last week, Green Bay looks a lot like those teams that have run over Houston to this point, especially with the Packers averaging 32 points per game on offense. The Texans are giving up 30 per game, but they also own the 3rd best passing offense in the league and could fare well in a shootout against a banged-up Packers defense.
Green Bay is one of the best bounce-back teams in the league with a 5-0 ATS mark in their last five following a straight-up loss and a 10-1 record against the spread in the previous eleven following an ATS loss. Houston is riding a six-game ATS losing streak as the underdog and is just 4-9 against the spread in their last thirteen at home. The Over has a 10-2 mark over the previous twelve when Green Bay has been on the road against an opponent with a losing record, and the Over has hit in five of the last six when Houston is the dog. Through Wednesday betting, Green Bay is getting about 76% of the public money, with 65% of the action on the Over.
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Rodgers says R-E-L-A-X
Actually, he said that a few years back, but the point is that this QB is not likely to let his team get rattled by one bad week. Rodgers threw for not one but two interceptions last week, including a pick-six that was just the third of his career. The Packers can confidently burn the tape and move on as they are still the 7th best offense in total yards gained, and those two INT’s are the only turnovers they have committed on the season. Rodgers still has a 109 QB rating and is hitting on 65% of his passes while the running game is top-10 at 140 yards per game. That ground game has Green Bay leading the league in time of possession, and they are 5th in third-down conversions. Aaron Jones is averaging 5.2 yards per carry and will get to work against the league’s worst run defense this week. Davante Adams is back but hasn’t been involved in the downfield game much and is averaging just eleven yards per catch. The Packers are without Allen Lazard and could miss TE Robert Tonyan and his five touchdowns as he picked up an ankle injury last week and is questionable. The defense has been average at best but hasn’t needed to be much more than that. They could be in a tight spot this week with Za’Darius Smith battling a bad ankle and Preston Smith iffy with a bad shoulder. Rashan Gary is also questionable with an ankle, and Kevin King is on pace to miss his second game with a quad injury. Missing either of the Smith’s would be bad news, especially with Za’Darius accounting for five of the team’s twelve sacks so far.
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Better than Their Record?
It is hard to make a case for Houston being a good team at 1-5, and the front office saw it that way when they removed Bill O’Brien, but their schedule has been so demanding that I am not sure how far they are away from being competitive. Their defense certainly shows the welts of the collective whooping with bottom-five stats across almost all key categories but would any defense look good after playing the Chiefs, Ravens, etc.? I don’t think we can count on that defense to suddenly stiffen against Green Bay, but the Houston offense has shown some ability, and the Packers did just give up 38 to Tampa, so the Texans should have a puncher’s chance to keep this close. Deshaun Watson is just shy of 300 yards passing per game and has thrown for thirteen scores while racking up a 107 QB rating. He can do damage with his legs, and that may be necessary as the team ranks 31st in rushing at 85 yards per game. David Johnson has been the victim of some poor game scripts, but he averages a pedestrian 3.9 yards per carry and hasn’t been dynamic in the receiving game. Will Fuller has been dynamic with a 28-455-4 line, and the duo of Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb have accounted for 644 yards and four touchdowns. That gives Watson three viable targets, and he has also used his tight ends with Darren Fells and Jordan Akins chipping in 373 yards and four scores. That volume of potential pass catchers will likely find holes against Green Bay’s back-seven. The Houston defense will have to rely on J.J. Watt to put some pressure on Rodgers as a clean pocket for him is bad news for Houston. Watt leads the team with three sacks, but seven different Texan defenders have at least one sack through six games. Bradley Roby will likely draw Davante Adams in coverage, and he leads Houston with five pass defenses.
Look for a Green Bay Bounce-Back
It is probably good for bettors that Green Bay stunk up the joint last week as a 5-0 Packer team is probably saddled with a heavier spread in this game. The 3.5-point margin doesn’t scare me too much considering how effective the offense has been overall, even as Green Bay has battled various skill position injuries. Aaron Jones is a legitimate top-5 back in the league right now, and I think that is about all you need against Houston at the moment. He should hit the century mark by the end of things on Sunday, and Rodgers is going to get the long ball working with Adams or Marques Valdez-Scantling once the Texans start committing bodies to the run. The Packers have just three takeaways on the season and have given up 27.8 points per game so look for Watson to keep Houston close through three quarters, but Green Bay is ultimately too much in this one, and they get a 31-24 win.
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