Posted on December 21, 2018, by Travis Pulver
Three weeks into the season it appeared as if the Houston Texans were already done. They were 0-3 and they hadn’t played well. Statistically, teams that start the season with three straight losses are done. But then the craziest thing happened—they won nine in a row.
The Colts knocked them back into reality with a loss a couple weeks ago. They nearly lost what should have been an easy game to the Jets last weekend. With their grasp on the AFC South threatening to slip away, can they get back on track against a resurgent Philadelphia Eagles team?
Fans of the Philadelphia Eagles will, of course, say ‘heck no!’ to anyone willing to listen. After the way Nick Foles brought the offense and defense to life last week against the Los Angeles Rams it is not hard to understand why.
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The Eagles have battled injuries on both sides of the ball this season, especially in the backfield and in the secondary. They have struggled to keep any of their running backs healthy and with so many defensive backs hurt, the have resorted to using receivers at cornerback in practice.
When Carson Wentz was ruled out for last week’s game, the general perception was that the Eagles were done. With a record of 6-7 it would take a small miracle for them to make the playoffs, anyway. But they needed a small miracle to make it to and win the Super Bowl last season. What’s to say it can’t happen again?
With Foles at the helm, the offense looked decent against the Rams defense last week. The Eagles defense, perhaps inspired by the offense, played probably their best game of the season.
To beat the Houston Texans, they may have to do it again.
Houston has a much better defense than the Rams and will not be as easy to move the ball on. Foles should be able to throw on the Texans 26th ranked pass defense but the Eagles will struggle to run the ball. But if Foles can have a day like Andrew Luck did (nearly 400 yards), that will not matter.
However, to score the upset, the Eagles will need more than Foles having a career day. They will need the defense to once again play better than anyone expects. They will be able to get to Deshaun Watson (everyone does). They will have to keep him contained and not let him start running (Houston does have the No. 6 rushing game this season).
But they can’t just keep him from running. They will need to force him to rush his throws because otherwise he will pick the Eagles secondary apart.
Philadelphia is not going to look bad on offense, but they certainly are not going to look nearly as good as they did last week either. The run game is not going to be able to pick up those key yards like they did last week. No, everything is going to come down on the arm of Nick Foles.
With how the Texans secondary has looked lately, that’s okay.
The Texans may not have their running game this week with Lamar Miller questionable with an ankle injury. But, offensively, they know they can lean on Watson to get the job done if they need to. Since the running game may struggle, they will have to.
So, in the end, this will be a close, hard-fought game—but one that will find the Texans coming out on top in the end (straight up and against the spread (+2)). As for the over/under (46), this will not be a high scoring game. But is one that should see both teams score some points. Take the over.