NFL Picks: Raiders at Texans Point Spread
Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans
Arguably the most difficult contest to call during Wild Card Weekend, given the questions both teams have at quarterback, Houston and Oakland are meeting for the second time this season. The first battle was waged in Mexico City on under the bright lights of Monday Night Football to close out the NFL Week 11 action. After falling behind 20-13 halfway through the fourth quarter, the Raiders rallied with two long QB David Carr touchdown passes (75 and 35 yards) to post a 27-20 victory. With Carr sidelined due to a broken leg – we expect the rematch to be a defensive battle.
Back in the playoffs for the first time since a 48-21 Super Bowl XXXVII loss to Tampa Bay in 2003, the euphoria in Oakland was doused by the loss of QB David Carr. Adding to their woes, backup QB Matt McGloin suffered a Week 17 shoulder injury and that leaves rookie pivot Connor Cook as the last man standing. In short, a dream season has turned into a nightmare. Solid defense and a strong rushing attack by Latavius Murray and DeAndre Washington are integral to a Raiders win.
Heralded as a saviour, and handed a $72 million contract, Brock Osweiler's first year in Houston was a major disaster. Things got so bad that Osweiler was benched in favour of backup QB Tom Savage prior to Week 15 action. Savage suffered a concussion last week so the Texans will go back to Osweiler who matched 15 TD passes with 16 INT during the regular season. On the good news front, RB Lamar Miller is back in the fold after sitting out the last two games with an ankle injury.
Raiders at Texans Prediction
BET HOUSTON TEXANS -3.5 (-110) ATS AT SPORTSINTERACTION (Houston 27-14 Final)
With both teams expected to struggle in the passing game – run defense will be a huge key for both teams. Houston allowed 99.7 rushing yards per game while Oakland gave up 117.6 RYPG during the regular season. The Texans had a 120-34 rushing yard advantage in the first meeting. The spread price has been bouncing between 3.5 and 4 points for this contest that could end up with a 3-0 final score. We jest of course, but the 36.5 SportsInteraction game total is lower than 39 of the past 40 Wild Card contests. Houston being slightly better on both sides of the ball and having home field advantage are keys here. Lay the line and take the Texans at SportsInteraction.
NFL Wild Card Games 2017
With the Texans vs Raiders defensive “gem” complete, offenses will take over in the other three NFL 2017 Wild Card games. The back half of the Saturday doubleheader features the Detroit Lions heading west to battle the Seahawks in Seattle at 8:15 PM ET to open the NFC playoff bracket. Sunday action begins with Miami visiting Pittsburgh at 1:05 PM ET prior to Green Bay hosting New York at 4:40 PM ET to decide the Divisional Round contenders. We will preview and predict every game of the 2017 NFL playoffs up to and including Super Bowl LI on February 5, 2017. You can track our picks here and receive LIVE updates with our handy scoring widget down below.
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