Houston Texans (9-4) at New York Jets (4-9)
This is a tough one. On one hand, the Texans have played a lot of close games this year. They are 9-4, but have just 4 wins by more than a touchdown, including just one road win by more than a touchdown, relevant considering this line is Houston -7. On the other hand, the Jets are one of the worst teams in the league, especially without suspended every down linebacker Darron Lee, so this line seems about right, even if the Texans are not quite as good as their record suggests.
The Jets won in Buffalo last week, but they lost the first down rate battle in that game by 2.66%, winning primarily because they won the turnover margin and converted a 4th down, which is not something that they can count on every week. The previous week, the Jets almost won in Tennessee, but they lost the first down rate battle in that game by 18.59%, losing the game despite blocking a punt and scoring a defensive touchdown. On the season, they rank just 31st in first down rate differential at -6.49%, significantly behind the #11 ranked Texans, who are at +2.08%. We’re not getting any line value with the Texans, so this is a no confidence pick, but they make more sense for pick ‘em purposes.
Houston Texans 24 New York Jets 16
Pick against the spread: Houston -7