Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans: 2014 Week 17 NFL Pick

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-12) at Houston Texans (8-7)

This game involves a significant line movement as the Texans were 7.5 point favorites according to the early line last week, while they are now 10 point favorites. I love fading a significant line movement whenever it makes sense, as significant line movements are usually overreactions. It makes sense here. The Texans rank just 22nd in rate of moving the chains differential on the season, moving the chains at a 69.57% rate, as opposed to 71.37% for their opponents, a differential of -1.80. Meanwhile, the Jaguars rank 29th, moving the chains at a 65.35% rate, as opposed to 72.61% for their opponents, a differential of -7.26%.

This line is too high because you even take into account that the Texans are essentially down to 4th string quarterback Case Keenum, with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett, and Tom Savage all out for the season. Keenum was able to lead this team to victory last week, but that was mostly because they got an uncharacteristically good performance from their defense, which held a previously efficient offense to a 56.67% rate of moving the chains. They can’t count on that again this week.

Keenum completed just 20 of 42 for 185 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception last week and the offense moved the chains at a 55.88% rate. Not only does that suggest that the Texans’ victory last week wasn’t as impressive as the final score suggested, which would make that line movement a huge overreaction, but it suggests that the Texans offense could really struggle to cover this spread this week. Keenum could be better in his 2nd start, as he’ll have more time with the offense in practice this week. Last week’s start was just a week after being called off of St. Louis’ practice squad and he only had a week of practice with the offense since September, after he was a final cut of the Texans after the pre-season. However, he shouldn’t be favored by 10 points over anyone. I have a good amount of confidence in the Jaguars as long as this line is 10 or more.

Houston Texans 16 Jacksonville Jaguars 10

Pick against the spread: Jacksonville +10

Confidence: Medium

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