Seattle Seahawks (4-8) at Houston Texans (2-10)
The Texans are 2-10 and don’t have the worst record in the league, but they are undoubtedly the worst team in the league. Their first win came back in week one when their offensive line was healthier and it came against a Jaguars team that is also terrible, while their second win was a game against the Titans in which the Texans won the turnover margin by 5, an unpredictive metric, while losing the yards per play and first down rate battle convincingly, by margins of 2.2 and 9.47% respectively, which are much more predictive metrics.
Meanwhile, the Texans’ ten losses have come by an average of 18.3 points per game and that number could be even higher if the Patriots weren’t missing most of their offensive line in their 3-point win, a game in which the Patriots still won the first down rate battle by 8.67%, and if the Texans hadn’t scored 22 meaningless garbage points against the Rams in a game in which they were down 38-0 going into the 4th quarter.
Overall, the Texans rank 32nd, 26th, and 21st in schedule adjusted offensive, defensive, and special teams efficiency respectively and, in mixed efficiency, they don’t just rank dead last in the NFL, but they are more than 6.5 points behind the next worst team. There was some hope they would play better when they got veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor back from injury, to replace raw rookie Davis Mills, but Taylor was barely an upgrade and was pulled in the middle of last week’s game so the team could get a better look at Davis Mills as a potential long-term starter, a chance he will get as the starter for the rest of the season.
It’s hard to see a circumstance where I would bet on the Texans and it would take a lot for me to even pick them against the spread, but this game is a situation where they make some sense as a pick, as they are in an incredible spot. The Texans lost 31-3 at home to the Colts last week, but teams tend to bounce back after a big loss as home underdogs like that, especially if teams are home underdogs again, as teams cover at a 59.0% rate all-time as home underdogs the week following a loss as home underdogs by 14 points or more. This is also the Texans’ third straight home game, a situation in which teams cover at a 55.2% rate.
Meanwhile, on the other side, the Seahawks have a much tougher game against the Rams on deck and could overlook the Texans or take their foot off the gas in the second half with a big lead and allow the Texans to backdoor cover this 8.5-point spread. Favorites of a touchdown or more cover at just a 42.7% rate all-time before facing an opponent with a winning percentage that is more than 50% higher than their current opponent’s winning percentage, which applies here. My calculated line actually has the Seahawks favored by 11 points, with the Texans being the worst team in the league and the Seahawks being much better than their record with Russell Wilson rounding back into form, and, because of that, I can’t take the Texans with any confidence, but they could make this more of a game than people are expecting.
Seattle Seahawks 31 Houston Texans 23
Pick against the spread: Houston +8.5