The Houston Texans (1-5-1) host the Philadelphia Eagles (7-0) at NRG Stadium for Thursday Night Football in Week 9 with the kickoff scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET.
These teams are heading in opposite directions as evidenced by Philadelphia being massive 14-point favorites in Houston.
Also, both cities are playing each other in the 2022 World Series so I wonder if the Eagles are motivated to show uphold their end of the bargain for Philly sports.
The Eagles are a heavy favorite to win the NFC (+175) and are NFL's last undefeated team. The Texans are in the mix to win the C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young sweepstakes.
I lean towards Philadelphia covering the spread but I like the Eagles' defense to hold the TEXANS to UNDER 15.5 points (-105) at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Philadelphia's defense will be licking its chops in this matchup because ...
The Texans' offense is bottom-three, at best
Houston has the 2nd-fewest 1st downs and the fewest yards per drive while the 18th-toughest schedule of opposing defenses thus far, according to Football Outsiders.
Furthermore, Texans QB Davis Mills has the 2nd-worst QBR and Houston's offense has the 2nd-worst expected points added per play (EPA/play).
Houston's offense has a significant run-blocking and pass-protection mismatch vs. Philadelphia in Week 9, per Pro Football Focus. The Eagles are going to force the Texans to convert a lot of 3rd-and-longs.
The Eagles' defense flies under the radar
Philly's offense gets a bulk of the praise with the improvement of QB Jalen Hurts behind its dominant offensive line. Plus the Eagles added WR A.J. Brown this offseason to an already impressive group of skill position players.
But, Philadelphia's defense is 2nd in EPA/play and has All-Pro talent on all three levels. The Eagles' defenders will be motivated to show the offense isn't doing all the work.
I wouldn't be surprised if Philly's defense scores points on TNF. At the minimum, Eagles' defensive linemen Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham will be in Mills' face all night and Philadelphia's secondary will get interception opportunities.
Finally, there are ...
Trendy reasons to bet UNDER the Texans' team total
The Eagles have allowed just 13.3 points per game (PPG) in their three games as favorites of -7.5 or greater since 2021. Philly's opponents have scored fewer than 15.5 points in two of those three games.
There have only been five double-digit home underdogs on Thursday since 2007 but those teams are averaging just 12.2 PPG in those games. Since 2012, double-digit home underdogs are scoring just 14.8 PPG in 62 instances.