By Justin Mark, SGPN Football Handicapper
This week is full of good news. First off, the Eagles advanced to a perfect 7-0, continuing to have the best record in the NFL. Second, my picks went 4-1 last week, bringing my win percentage to 68%. Last, in good news, the Eagles made a splashy trade by getting a good situational pass-rusher in Robert Quinn and only had to give up a fourth-rounder.
The Eagles will likely be favored in every game from here on out and this Thursday night when they hit the road to face the struggling Houston Texans is no different. They are favored by 13 points. While that may seem like a lot, the Eagles have done very well on Thursday nights, when they have covered the spread six times in the last seven games.
Key Defensive Matchup
This Houston Texans team has not been very good overall. They are 32nd (out of 32) in points scored per game, 31st in yards per game, 28th in passing yards per game, and 29th in rushing yards per game. They also allow an average of 2.3 sacks a game. The Eagles, on the other hand, are 2nd in points allowed per game, 1st in total yards allowed, 1st in passing yards allowed, and 9th in rushing yards allowed. Looking at these numbers, the Eagles should have a huge advantage on Thursday night. And while this is the NFL and we know anything can happen, the Eagles entire defense should just focus on playing the way they do every week and slowing big plays from the Texans.
It will be interesting to see if Quinn will make an impact right away. He had 18.5 sacks in 2021. Even though he’s started slower this year in Chicago, the whole team has started slower adjusting to the new defensive scheme. The Quinn trade shows that the Eagles are pushing for a Super Bowl this year.
Key Offensive Matchup
For all the struggles the Texans have on offense, they are decent on defense. They are 9th in points allowed, 7th in passing yards allowed, but last in rushing yards allowed. What does that mean when they face a team that is one of the best rushing units in the NFL? I expect the Eagles’ offensive line to open up huge lanes for Miles Sanders and Jalen Hurts. They’ll be able to control the clock and utilize the run game to move the ball down the field.
Let’s not breeze over the fact that AJ Brown is coming off a three-touchdown performance. While the Texans will focus on covering him they also have to worry about Devonta Smith and tight end Dallas Goedert. I expect they’ll have talented rookie Derek Stingley covering Brown while fellow rookie Jalen Pitre will be over the top to try and limit him. Either way, I don’t think it matters as the Eagles rely on the run to win.
There’s no reason to think the Eagles will struggle with this one. They are 5-2 against the spread while the Texans are 3-3-1. The Texans have only covered once at home and even though the Eagles haven’t been as dominant on the road, I think this is a game that has a similar feel to the Steelers game they just played.
Looking at lines on WynnBet, this week I feel the Eagles will continue their dominance and go 8-0 but once again the Moneyline is way too lopsided at -900 (meaning you’d have to bet $9.00 just to win one dollar. However, I think the Eagles will overwhelm the Texans the same way they did the Steelers and cover this game, despite the high line of -13. They just beat the Steelers by 22 points and this Texans team is on the same level. Last week, I took the under and it didn’t hit. However, this week I think with the Texans being so bad at stopping the run, the Eagles will focus on running the ball, which in turn will keep the clock moving. Once again I’m going with under 45.
Bonus Prop Bets
Looking at the props for the game I like Jalen Hurts over 40.5 rushing yards (-115). Once again, I like the Eagles over for the 1st half, which is currently set at 14.5. The Steelers only put up 13 points against the Eagles last week. And while the Texans have surprisingly seemed a little more put together than the Steelers, I don’t expect them to score over 14 points. Therefore, I like the Houston Texans team total under 15.5 due to the Eagles’ defense being so dominant.
Justin Mark is co-host of SGPN Fantasy Football’s show “Old-Fashioned Football”, and co-host of a show on the NFL Gambling Podcast, which airs every Wednesday at 3:30 eastern time on Youtube. He’s also a writer for the Sports Gambling Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @JMarkFootball and The Sports Gambling Podcast @GamblingPodcast.