(5-6, 5-6 ATS)
(7-4, 5-6 ATS)
Thursday Night Football heads to the City of Brotherly Love this week, and for just the second time this season, the Houston Texans will be on national television, and they engage in NFL betting warfare against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Houston isn’t actually in as bad of shape right now as it probably thinks it is at 5-6. Yes, this team has let at least three games slip away this year that it has had absolutely no business losing, but it is also just one game back of the lead in the AFC South and is clearly right in the thick of things with a chance to make some headway on Thursday. We know that this is an offense that is chock full of talent, but at times, it really feels like a three man show. QB Matt Schaub is going to be a 3,000 yard passer, WR Andre Johnson is going to be close to a 1,500 yard receiver, and RB Arian Foster is going to be a 1,500 yard rusher and pretty close to a 2,500 yard overall back. Foster has been the one man to come out of nowhere this campaign to make some real noise. He is already over 1,500 total yards of offense this year with 1,147 yards on the ground and 453 more through the air, and if you prorate those numbers over the rest of the season, he’d finish with 2,327 yards, a number that would easily be the most in Texans history. This ‘D’ needs to build on the shutout it had last week against the Tennessee Titans, though remotely stopping the Philly offense would be worlds more impressive than shutting out QB Rusty Smith and the Titans.
Philly’s roll came to a close last week on the road against the Chicago Bears, and now it comes back home, where it is 4-2 on the campaign. QB Michael Vick was finally picked off for the first time on the season last week, but he is still the undisputed leader to an offense that is averaging 399.3 yards and 28.2 points per game, both marks of which are second best in the league. The Eagles are one of the few teams that legitimately can throw for 250 yards and rush for 150 yards in the same game every week, and they’ll expect to do so against a porous Houston ‘D’. HC Andy Reid has an “Arian Foster” of his own to work with in RB LeSean McCoy. Just like Foster, this is a duel threat. McCoy has rushed for 779 yards and caught 59 passes for 448 yards, and though these numbers aren’t quite as impressive as those of Foster, they are still quite notable. Defensively, watch out for DB Asante Samuel. He’s got the ability to change a game in a hurry, and he already has seven INTs on the campaign.
It feels like we say this each and every week, but this is a game for the Texans that feels like it can be won, but we know that it won’t be. Still, giving us nine points seem a wee ridiculous for a team that is significantly better than its record indicates. Seeing the Eagles win this one by a TD is reasonable, but anything more than that and you’re pushing your luck. Back the Texans on the NFL odds.
NFL Free Pick: Houston Texans +9