St. Louis Rams (2-3) at Houston Texans (2-3)
It’s weird to be saying this because I held that the Texans were overrated coming into the season, but I actually think the Texans are underrated right now. They’ve faced a very tough schedule thus far, playing Baltimore, Tennessee, San Diego, and San Francisco, and Seattle. San Diego is probably the worst of the bunch and even they’re decent. They’ve also been killed off of returns. The Texans are -46 in points differential right now, but they are -28 in points off of returns as they’ve allowed 4 defensive touchdowns.
That won’t continue. Even if the Texans continue to turn the ball over at a rate of 2.2 per game, they are unlikely to allow 36% of them to be returned for a touchdown. And they might not even continue to turn the ball over at this rate. They are unlikely to continue recovering just 30.0% of fumbles that hit the ground and Matt Schaub, while he’s definitely having a down year, probably won’t continue throwing an interception at a rate nearly double his career rate. For his career, he throws an interception on 2.6% of attempts. This season, he’s at 4.2%, partly because of their tough schedule. Their -8 turnover margin is one of the worst in the NFL and a big part of the reason they’ve struggled. The Texans are actually moving the chains at a 75% rate, as opposed to 70% for their opponents, a 5% differential that is 6th best in the NFL, despite their tough schedule.
This is a perfect chance for them to get back on track here, with the Rams coming to town. The Rams have already failed to cover similar lines against similar caliber opponents, in Atlanta and Dallas. They beat the Cardinals at home by 3 week 1, but they then trailed Atlanta 21-0 early before injuries and garbage time, they lost 31-7 to the Cowboys, and they lost 35-11 to the 49ers.
They beat Jacksonville by 14 last week, but that’s not even that impressive. They barely even covered the spread, beating the 12 point spread by 2, their first cover of the season. The Texans also haven’t covered this season, but that’s because I think they’ve been overrated. That’s no longer the case. I like their chances of re-establishing themselves here and blowing out the Rams. I wish the line was -7 or lower, but I still think the Texans should be the right side.
Houston Texans 24 St. Louis Rams 10
Pick against spread: Houston -8