The Houston Texans will have tough bout against the Philadelphia Eagles, the defending champs. What are the most important things to watch for? Let’s take a look at top matchups as well as gambling advice.
Houston Texans (10-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (7-7)
Sunday, Dec. 23 at Noon on CBS
MyBookie line: Eagles -2.5
The Houston Texans were able to rebound last week with a win in New Jersey against the New York Jets on Saturday night and have restarted their win streak at 1-0 after the Colts snapped their franchise-high nine-game win streak the week previous. They have their last road game of the regular season against the defending world champion Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16 and the Eagles surprised everyone last Sunday night when they beat the offensive juggernaut in the Los Angeles Rams as 13.5 point underdogs on the road in a 30-23 shocker.
Right now, the Texans are in 2nd place in the AFC and have a first-round bye and they need to go 2-0 the next two weeks to keep it that way. Philadelphia is fighting for their playoff lives as they need to win their final two games and have the Dallas Cowboys lose their last two games to even have a chance to defend their title.
Let’s take a look at a matchup to watch for and gambling outlook for this Week 16 battle:
Matchup to watch: Houston and Philadelphia defensive lines
A huge part of why the Houston Texans winning streak came to an end against the Colts two weeks ago was the pressure put on Deshaun Watson — he was sacked five times for 41 yards. This week, he’ll be facing another fierce defensive line led on the edge by Chris Long and Michael Bennett and pressure up the middle will come from Fletcher Cox.
Pressure on Watson will force mistakes, especially with this Texans’ offensive line in front of him and this Eagles’ unit is one of the best in the NFL at forcing those situations. On the flip side, Pro Bowlers J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney will provide the pressure on the edge to Eagles’ quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. If the Texans’ edge rush can’t get to Foles, he’ll be able to find weapons Alshon Jeffery, Golden Tate, and Nelson Agholor on the outside.
But the key will be the Texans’ kryptonite this season: tight end Zach Ertz. Houston has been near last in the league in covering tight ends and Ertz already has more than 100 catches on the season. It’ll all start up front this game as whomever wins that battle should capitalize on the other facets of the game as well. If Houston can contain the rush, DeAndre Hopkins and Demaryius Thomas will handle the Philadelphia patchwork secondary with ease.
As of this writing, the line is Eagles -2.5 and the over/under is 47. I can honestly see this game from both ends of the spectrum in that it may be a defensive battle or a shootout.
I took the Jets last week at +7 versus the Texans and the under of 44.5. It ended up being a push and the over hitting. This week, I’ll take the under of 47 as I doubt the Texans can get near 30 points on the road against this defense, as the L.A. Rams could only get 23 points at home. I will take the Texans at +2.5; however, I think this game goes down to the wire and the Texans sneak out a 24-21 victory.
A 1st round bye would only mean one Texans playoff victory away from a spot in the AFC Championship game and who could have predicted that after an 0-3 start? Texans fans — just continue to enjoy one of the best regular seasons in franchise history. The real season is almost here.
How do you feel about this matchup? Feel free to comment in the section below.
Interested in writing for Locked on Texans? Tweet us: @LockedOnTexans, Facebook: Locked On Texans or drop us a line at [email protected]
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Houston Texans: The best free agents to target in the 2019 off season
The Houston Texans off season is here and there’s a lot of work to do to prep this team for 2019. Who are the top free agents that the team should go after? Let’s take a look at the players who would make an impact.
The Houston Texans were one of the NFL’s better success stories this season after starting the season 0-3. J.J. Watt returned as one of the league’s most dominant defensive players, while free agent signee Tyrann Mathieu was a playmaker at the safety position. Third-round pick Justin Reid was one of the league’s best rookies and a starter in the Texans’ secondary for years to come.
DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson maintained their solid connection from last year as the former was named to his second consecutive first team All-Pro. Despite being sacked a league high 62 times, Watson passed for 4,165 yards and 26 touchdowns as he led the Texans to a 11-5 record and the AFC South division title. Lamar Miller was only 27 yards from his third 1,000+ yard season, despite missing two games because of injuries.
While the offense did put up strong numbers, the offensive line was a liability throughout the season as Watson was constantly under pressure, while Miller and the rest of the Texan running backs had few running lanes. Right tackle Seantrel Henderson was signed to fix those problems but he broke his ankle in the season opener and did not play for the rest of the season. He is a free agent now and so is Kendall Lamm, the man who replaced Henderson on the offensive line.
Julie’n Davenport struggled at left tackle and Martinas Rankin has not shown enough to yet to be a contributor on the offensive line. While Jadeveon Clowney and Mathieu are both free agents who need to be brought back, improving the offensive line is the team’s biggest priority in the off season. The Texans need to address the offensive line in both free agency and the draft as the unit struggled to protect Watson.
In regard to bringing in help via free agency, Daryl Williams missed most of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury but he was a second team All-Pro in 2017 and is the top tackle available.
His value might not as high because of the shoulder injury but Williams is one of the league’s better tackles and the Texans need to get him in free agency to bolster their offensive line. Williams is a mauler that should help create running lanes for Miller, while keeping Watson upright in the pocket. If the Texans are unable to sign him, Ja’Wuan James and Roger Saffold are the next best offensive linemen available in free agency and both players should be targeted by the Texans.
An upgrade in the secondary is also needed as Shareece Wright struggled in coverage, while Kayvon Webster and Aaron Colvin battled to stay healthy. Kareem Jackson had a great year for the Texans but is another Texans’ free agent that has to be re-signed.
The Texans need to address their own free agents first as Clowney, Mathieu and Jackson were all vital parts to the team’s success in 2018.
What do you think? Feel free to comment in the section below.
Interested in writing for Locked On Texans? Tweet us: @LockedOnTexans, Facebook: Locked On Texans or drop us a line at [email protected]
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