Tennessee Titans (10-5) at Houston Texans (4-11)
I was hoping we would get the Titans at a discount this week after last week’s 40-14 loss in Green Bay. The Titans looked ugly in that game, losing the first down rate battle by 14.91%, but it’s likely they knew they could still win the division with a win over the lowly Texans this week and simply stopped trying once they got down multiple scores against the Packers in the snow. I expect a much better effort this week with the division on the line and their defense should be better than it was earlier in the season now that they have top cornerback Adoree Jackson back from injury.
Unfortunately, we’re not getting that discount and, in fact, this line has soared from Tennessee -4.5 on the early line last week to Tennessee -7.5 this week. The Texans had an ugly result last week too, losing at home to the Bengals, and it seems that’s what the oddsmakers and public took more notice of. With that in mind, I’m actually going to take the Texans this week, albeit for a no confidence pick. Tennessee -7.5 is right where I have this line, but there’s a chance the Titans could choke with the division on the line, as teams with a winning percentage between 50% and 67% cover at just a 40.8% rate as favorites against teams with a sub-.500 winning percentage in weeks 16 or 17.
That’s not enough to take the Texans with any confidence, as they’re one of the worst teams in the league, ranking 25th in my roster rankings, with key players missing on both sides of the ball (Will Fuller, Laremy Tunsil, Bradley Roby, Whitney Mercilus, Justin Reid, among others), while the Titans have the kind of dominant offense (6th in first down rate over expected at +2.02%) that correlates well with long-term success, but I would give the Texans the slight edge if you have to pick a side.
Tennessee Titans 31 Houston Texans 24
Pick against the spread: Houston +7.5