After an eventful weekend of NFL action, things really ramped up on Tuesday with a record number of trades going through on the final day before the deadline. We had teams like the Lions and Bears officially giving up on their seasons and then others like the Dolphins and Ravens going all in for a deep playoff push.
Thursday Night Football this week is between one team that did make a move prior to the deadline (albeit last week) and another that did not trade away a player that clearly wanted out. The Eagles traded a fourth round pick to the Bears for Robert Quinn but the Texans held on to Brandin Cooks despite late interest from the Cowboys.
Philadelphia Eagles -14.0 @ Houston Texans: 45.0
It doesn’t get much more of a mismatch than this, the team with the best record in the NFL facing the team with the worst. The projected margin of 14 points (16.5 in some places) would probably be even higher if it wasn’t for the fact that the Eagles have a tendency to put their feet up in the second half of games this season while they wait for a team to truly test them.
The Eagles lead the league in first half scoring at 21 points per game but are bottom six in the league in second half scoring at just seven points. Jalen Hurts and co have just been so dominant in first half’s that they haven’t really needed to bother later in games.
They are up against a Texans run defense that ranks bottom of the league both in pure numbers and DVOA and it’s not really very close. It’s probably going to be tricky to trust Hurts or the Eagles receivers in this game because of that. AJ Brown is averaging 90 yards a game and Devonta Smith and Dallas Goedert are both at 60 yards. I wouldn’t be confident leaning either away on any of their lines but would be most confident in Goedert (68.5 for Brown, 51.5 for Smith and 46.5 for Goedert).
Miles Sanders is averaging a career high 80.4 yards this season and his line tonight is around that mark, Sky Bet offering the lowest at 77.5. I think combining Sanders’ over and for him to score a touchdown is the best bet (11/5 as bet builder with Bet 365 – 80.5 yard line).
There might have been some slight optimism regarding Davis Mills heading into this year and while he can’t really be blamed for the Texans record, it has become clear they will need to look elsewhere next season. He will have next to no help at all again in tonights game with Nico Collins sidelined through injury and Brandin Cooks likely sitting out for “personal reasons”. Cooks would surely have got his move to another team if it wasn’t for his $18million salary next season.
Mills is averaging 214.6 passing yards per game this year and seems a pretty solid bet to go under his 210.5 yard line tonight with no one to throw to against a top five defense.
There are several pass catchers for the Texans with lines tonight ranging from around 12 to 40 yards. Jordan Akins may be the best bet to hit the over as he is averaging over 30 yards a game but is down at 14.5 tonight. But for most of the passing game we are probably going to be relying on garbage time.
Rookie running back Dameon Pierce will have to be the whole offense and might be worth a punt to score a touchdown at 6/4 but it will be hard to trust against this elite defense.
There have been some upsets on Thursday night’s so far this season but it’s safe to say that isn’t going to happen tonight and the Eagles will probably have the game won by half time as usual. It is hard to back them to cover a 14 point spread though. I would lean the under on the game total of 45 points.