THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL – WEEK NINE
Philadelphia Eagles (-14) vs. Houston Texans 40.5 [O]
The Eagles looked as dominant as an NFL team can against a flat awful Steelers team transitioning to a new quarterback and missing the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
As a diehard Steelers, last week was tough to watch because the Steelers were overmatched where it counts most on an American gridiron—in the trenches.
The RPO offense run by seemingly all the elite NFL teams to some degree either forces defenses to play man to man or some form of zone defense that leaves one part of the field open. So, play man to man and you’re susceptible to the big play; play almost any Zone defense and prepare to get frustrated at being dinked and dunked—sometimes for significant yardage—down the field. With a running game to compliment that scenario, well, you get an 8-0 team that looks unbeatable.
For a defense of a 2-6 team things seldom go well enough to convince players “we can hang with these guys.” Pittsburgh’s pass defense was there on all three bombs to former Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown. He wrestled the first one away from Minkah Fitzpatrick, on another, Jalen Hurts threw the ball into the only spot in the galaxy the cornerback couldn’t get to. On the third, a Keystone cop collision between Fitzpatrick and CB Aikhello Witherspoon punctuated another pinpoint throw by Hurts.
Toss in a couple of dropped interceptions, stupid pre-snap penalties, dropped passes and inept run blocking, and you’re 2-6 and the only good fortune your team may have will be in April when they pick fourth in the draft.
Last week, the Bald Birds were coming off a bye; the Steelers were fresh off a loss in Miami where similar mistakes cost them a win.
The only reason we’re calling the Texans to Cover tonight, is this could be a perfect time for the Eagles to overlook an inferior opponent, be a little full of themselves, and prematurely licking their chops at next week’s walk in the park against Washington.
Do I think Houston has an ice cube’s chance in a pizza oven of winning? No! Miles Sanders might run for 200 yards versus this Houston rush defense—but I think the Texans can finish within 14.
Here are some trends that really don’t mean a lot…
· Philadelphia is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 road games.
· Houston is 3-1 ATS in its last 4 as a double-digit home dog.
· The OVER is 5-1 in Houston’s last 6 as a double-digit home dog.
The Eagles dominate the overmatched Texans. We like the Over in this one…