Houston Texans (5-6 SU, 5-6 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (7-4 SU, 5-6 ATS), Week 13 NFL, 8:20 p.m. EST, Thursday, December 2, 2010, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa. TV: NFL Network
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Hou +9.5/Phi -9.5
Over/Under Total: 50
Two of the most surprisingly great players in the NFL this season are Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and Houston Texans running back Arian Foster. On Thursday, the two of them will go up against each other in primetime. The Eagles need a win to bounce back from their loss on Sunday and remain in first place in the NFC East. The Texans need a win to keep any slim playoff hopes they may have alive.
The Eagles have become an NFC power thanks to the play of Vick this season. Since the bye, the Eagles had won three straight under Vick, who had just returned from an injury that kept him out three games. But on Sunday, the Eagles lost 31-26 at Chicago. It was the first game the Eagles lost all season in which Vick was the quarterback for the entire game. Their other three losses were with Kevin Kolb as the quarterback for the entire game, with Vick starting but getting injured and Kolb finishing the game, and with Kolb starting the game but getting injured and being replaced by Vick for the second half. It was also the first time all season that Vick threw an interception. He had 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions coming into the game but that changed in the loss to the Bears on Sunday. The week before, the Eagles beat the Giants to break a first-place tie and take a one game lead on them, but a Giants win and an Eagles loss brings the team back tied atop the division for now.
In the 31-26 loss to the Bears, the Eagles defense got shredded by Jay Cutler, who threw four touchdowns. The Eagles trailed 31-13 in the fourth quarter before it making it interesting. Vick was 29-for-44 passing for 333 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He also ran for 44 yards. LeSean McCoy ran for 53 yards, and the Eagles totaled 105 rushing yards on 22 carries for the game. Jason Avant and McCoy each had eight receptions.
For the season, Vick has 1,941 passing yards, 13 passing touchdowns and one interception in eight games. He also has 419 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. McCoy has 779 rushing yards and six touchdowns. McCoy also leads the team in receptions with 59. Jeremy Maclin has 51 receptions for 752 yards and eight touchdowns.
The Texans went into their bye week with a 4-2 record and the season was looking bright. Then, they lost four games in a row to the Colts, Chargers, Jaguars and Jets. Three of those four losses were by seven or less points. Now, they are trying to bounce back and get back on the winning track. They did so with a win on Sunday over the Titans, 20-0. But in that game, Texans star wide receiver Andre Johnson got into a fight with Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan. Johnson threw some punches and both players were ejected. There’s a chance Johnson could be suspended for Thursday’s game against the Eagles, so that would be a huge blow for the Texans.
In the 20-0 win over the Titans, Matt Schaub was 25-for-35 passing for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Arian Foster ran for 143 yards and also caught nine passes for 75 yards. Johnson had nine receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown. The Texans forced three turnovers and had no turnovers of their own.
The Texans are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games as a road underdog, 7-3 ATS in their last 10 December games, and 2-5 ATS in their last seven games overall. The Eagles are 4-1 ATS in their last five December games, 11-2 ATS in their last 13 Week 13 games, and 5-2 ATS in their last seven home games vs. teams with a losing road record. The over is 6-1 in the Eagles’ last seven games overall and 4-1 in their last five games as a favorite. The over is 4-1-1 in the Texans’ last six road games and 5-1-1 in their last seven games as an underdog.
Ryno’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m surprised that the oddsmakers are hanging such a big line on this game. With that being said, my handicapping model tells me that the Eagles are 10 points better than Houston, so that’s my play.