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The Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles both hope that the playoffs in their future, but only one of these teams is going to take a big time step in the right direction to start unlucky Week 13 in NFL betting action.
Matchup: Houston Texans @ Philadelphia Eagles
Date: Thursday, December 2nd, 8:20 ET
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
Game Line: Philadelphia -9
Texans Notes: It feels like we're saying that this is a do or die game every single week for the Texans, but this one really might not be an exception. Houston is just a game back of the lead in the AFC South, but it is going to be in tiebreaker Hell in all likelihood by season's end. The Texans have to feel fortunate that they didn't lose WR Andre Johnson this week, as he probably deserved to be suspended for his fist fight with DB Cortland Finnegan on the field last Sunday. He could be in for a really big game against the Philadelphia defense, and if he has that big time effort, he could make it to the 1,000 yard mark. QB Matt Schaub is probably going to become a 3,000 yard passer, as he already has 2,751 yards on the campaign. He has 15 TDs against seven picks on the year and would be well on his way to some MVP consideration if the Texans were in the playoff picture. RB Arian Foster is the best running back in the league this year, and that's shocking for a man that really needed to fight for his job in the preseason. The former Tennessee Volunteer already has 1,147 yards and a dozen TDs on the ground, but his real contributions are in the passing game, where he is the second biggest target on the squad with 48 catches, 453 yards, and a score. And then, there's the defense… This unit is coming off of a shutout against the Tennessee Titans in which DB Glover Quin picked off three passes. However, beating up a division rival with its third quarterback making his first career starts doesn't seem to strike the same type of cord as it would this week. Every other foe this year has scored at least 24 points on the campaign against the Texans, and six in a row before Tennessee had scored 29 or more points.
Eagles Notes: Fly Eagles, fly! Philadelphia might be coming off of a loss to the Chicago Bears, but it is still in first place in the NFC East in a tie with the New York Giants. QB Michael Vick threw his first interception last week, but the best remedy for throwing a pick is playing against the Houston defense! The former Atlanta Falcon really has to be salivating about this matchup on Thursday night, as it gives him a chance to shine against a bad defense and to showcase his skills on national television. Vick has thrown for 1,941 yards and 13 scores and has rushed for 419 yards and five more TDs. There are some potentially big time games out of both WR Jeremy Maclin and WR DeSean Jackson coming. Maclin leads the team with 752 yards and 51 receptions with eight TDs, while Jackson is averaging 19.4 yards per reception this year, one of the biggest averages on the campaign. The former Cal Golden Bear has caught 35 passes for 678 yards and five scores. WR Jason Avant is coming on strong right now, as he has 41 receptions for 479 yards and a TD. RB LeSean McCoy has caught 59 passes for 448 yards and a TD, and he has rushed for 779 yards and six trips to the end zone. Defensively, there are some superstars to watch out for. DE Trent Cole has seven sacks on the season, while DB Asante Samuel has seven picks. Both Nate Allen and Dimitri Patterson have three INTs as well, while Quintin Mikell has three forced turnovers to boot.
The Final Word: Here we go again for the Texans. They just continue to feel like they find ways to lose games, and now that they are playing a Major League team once again and not a bunch of has beens, they have a big time issue. Houston is every bit as good as Philly is, but with this game being on the road off of an Eagles loss, it's hard to see how the hosts are going to lose this one. The Texans will cover, but they'll find a way to get beaten in the end once again.
Free Pro Football Picks: Houston +9
Prediction: Philadelphia 31 – Houston 30