NFL Pick: Houston Texans vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Houston Texans (10-4 SU, 6-7-1 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (7-7 SU, 5-9 ATS)
NFL Football Week 16
Date and Time: Sunday, December 23rd, 1:00pm EST
Where: Lincoln Financial Field - Philadelphia, PA
By Bob Clark, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: HOU +2/PHI -2
Over/Under Total: 45
POWER RATINGS – WEEK 16: PHILADELPHIA EAGLES -1
TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 15:
Man, man, man…the takeaways from week fifteen. Is this a replay of last season? The Eagles lose Carson Wentz…Nick Foles takes over and in his first game leads the Eagles to a huge win on the road…are the Philadelphia Eagles about to go on a run again? Probably not, but this game against the Texans on Sunday will be very interesting. As for the Texans, we all know that they started
the season 3-0 only to then go on a nine game winning streak before falling to the Colts. This past weekend, they got themselves back in the Win Column with a 29-22 victory over the New York Jets. It was not pretty, but in the NFL you take a win any way you can get it…and that’s what the Texans did. Could this be a preview of this year’s Super Bowl? Probably not, but it is not completely impossible either.
HOW THE PUBLIC IS BETTING HOUSTON AND PHILADELPHIA:
The Houston Texans go into this game as two point underdogs on the road against Philly. I believe if the Eagles still had Wentz at quarterback, that they would be even more of a fave over the Texans but the QB position tends to sway odds. With that said, the loss of Wentz may have caused the Texans to be just slight dogs but the public is not buying it. As of Tuesday afternoon, nearly 70% of the documented public action was on the Eagles to cover at home. Only 31% of the early wagers liked the Houston Texans on the road. If this pattern continues, the line will probably go to a four or five point spread by game time Sunday. Against the spread this season, the Houston Texans are 6-7-1 while Philly sits at 5-9.
These two teams are not very familiar with each other. Since 2002, this will be just the fifth time these teams have faced off. In the previous four games, the Eagles are a perfect 4-0. The most recent contest between these two was back in 2014 when the Eagles won by a score of 31-21 in Houston. Both of these teams have changed a lot since that day and you can throw history out the window for this one.
Of course everyone in the world knows that Carson Wentz has a back injury that has him out for this week and probably the remainder of the season…at least he SHOULD be out for an extended time. Along with Wentz to miss this game is also Safety, Chris Maragos. The players listed as Questionable for the Eagles this week are Sidney Jones, Isaac Seumalo, Jordan Hicks, and Tim Jernigan. For the Houston Texans, they are rather healthy. Listed as Questionable are DeAndre Hopkins who they are saying SHOULD be a go come Sunday, Lamar Miller, and Keke Coutee.
WHEN HOUSTON HAS THE BALL:
The Houston Texans will have their hands full against this Eagles defense come Sunday. The Texans are a run first offense averaging 133 a game on the ground while the Eagles are close to a top ten run defense. Don’t get me wrong, the Texans can and will throw the ball as well but much of their success in the pass game is built off the run game and the athleticism of Deshaun Watson. I can see the Texans using the read option in order to keep the Eagles defense on their heels to open up the game more. If Houston cannot have success on the ground, it WILL be a long day for them.
WHEN PHILADELPHIA HAS THE BALL:
In many cases when a team loses their starting quarterback, the game plan for the back up is the dial it back, simplify the playbook, and run a vanilla and mistake free offense. Not this week. The Eagles won a Super Bowl with Nick Foles and if anything, these guys are regaining their confidence each week. The Eagles average over 250 yards a game in the air and they also put up another 100 or so on the ground. The passing game is a big part of their offensive success and I do not see this ending this Sunday. The style of defense the Houston Texans play actually works into the favor of the Eagles. Against the run, Houston is 4th in the NFL, but against the pass they are near the bottom allowing almost 260 a game through the air. Don’t get me wrong though, Nick Foles is not coming out and throwing the balll 35 times and seeing success. The Eagles offensive line and running backs MUST put Foles and Company in 2nd and 3rd downs with short yardage. A game full of 3rd and 7s will not bode well for Philly. If Nick Foles can see 3rd and shorts he will have success.
I am going to play the contrarian better for this game. Forget trends, forget records, forget numbers. The public is way way too high on the Eagles. Yes, I know Foles won a Super Bowl and all that, but again, he has seen limited action this season. I truly think that the Houston Texans are being highly undervalued here in this game. Not only do I like Houston to keep it close, I think they win a 20-17 type contest…TAKE HOUSTON!
The weather will be mostly sunny with temperatures in the low 30s to mid 40s at game time.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: TAKE THE HOUSTON TEXANS PLUS THE POINTS IN PHILLY.