Los Angeles Rams (6-1) at Houston Texans (1-6)
The Texans were expected by most to be one of, if not the worst team in the league this season. They threw some people off the scent of how terrible they were by winning week one, but that was because veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor played a great game and because the Texans were facing a Jaguars team that also ended up showing themselves to be one of the worst teams in the league. The Texans were tied with the Browns the following week at halftime, but lost Taylor to an injury and have completely bottomed out since, with raw rookie quarterback Davis Mills under center, supported by probably the worst roster in the league on both sides of the ball.
Overall, the Texans have been outscored 138-46 since Mills took over the starting job and that’s even worse if you take out a 25-22 loss to the Patriots in a game in which the Patriots were missing most of their offensive line but still won the first down rate battle by 8.67%. Their other four full games with Mills have been losses by an average score of 27.3 points. Also missing left tackle Laremy Tunsil, arguably their best player, the Texans are 14 points below average in my roster rankings and even that might underestimate how bad they are right now.
Despite that, we are actually getting some line value with the Texans as 16-point home underdogs against the Rams, as my calculated line has the Texans as 15-point underdogs. Favoring a team by 15 or 16 points is kind of splitting hairs, but the Rams are holding out their top offensive linemen Andrew Whitworth with injury in this game, which could easily hurt their ability to win by three scores or more, and the Rams are in a bad spot as well, with a much tougher game against the Titans on deck. Favorites of a touchdown or more cover at just a 42.6% rate all-time before facing an opponent who has a winning percentage over 50% higher than their current opponent. I can’t have any confidence in the Davis Mills led Texans unless I have a very good reason to, but they are my pick for pick ‘em purposes.
Los Angeles Rams 31 Houston Texans 16
Pick against the spread: Houston +16