Houston Texans (6-3) vs. Oakland Raiders (7-2) in Mexico City
The Texans are 6-3, but rank just 26th in first down rate differential. That’s because their 5 wins have come by a combined 36 points, while their 3 losses have come by a combined 63 points. Their -27 point differential is also just 26th in the NFL. The Raiders have also had a lot of close wins, as 5 of their 7 wins have come by a touchdown or fewer, and they rank just 18th in first down rate differential. They’ve played a lot better in recent weeks though, with 2 of their last 3 wins coming by double digits, including a huge 10-point home victory over the Broncos before their bye. Coming into the season, I thought they were one of the most talented teams in the league and they’re finally playing like it.
That being said, this line is pretty high at 6, considering this isn’t even a true home game for the Raiders. From what I’ve heard, the Raiders have a relatively strong following in Mexico, but the Texans are one of the closest teams to the border, so they probably have some support there as well. Even if we give the Raiders a point for homefield advantage, that means the Raiders are 5 points better than the Texans. At their best they might be, but they’ve been inconsistent this season and are not exactly blowing teams out regularly, so the points are the safer bet in this game.
Oakland Raiders 17 Houston Texans 13
Pick against the spread: Houston +6