Talented Texans have not shown they’re in same class as Eagles

EAGLES (-1 ½) over Texans: Philadelphia maintains a better than 25 percent chance to make the postseason, especially should they win out — and they’re projected as pronounced favorites in Washington next week. Houston is a clearly legitimate challenger, but the only quality team the Texans have beaten on the road was Indianapolis (a narrow escape in OT).

COLTS (-9 ½) over Giants: Big Blue have been outperforming market expectations on the road since late September, and this is a hefty lay for Indianapolis. Andrew Luck is doing everything believers could want, and if Colts win and either the Ravens or Steelers lose, the Week 17 visit to Tennessee by Indy is for a playoff spot.

Jets (+3) over PACKERS: Aaron Rodgers’ groin issues were no secret early in the week, but he has confirmed his intent to play, despite his physical concerns.With the great one appearing in less than peak form, the price on this home dog is enticing.

Buccaneers (+7) over COWBOYS: Market offers no great bargain either way, but typical Cowboys situation is in play — whenever they’re any good, they’re overpriced — though QB Jameis Winston has not been tearing it up on the road, having lost his 11 away starts in 2017-18.

Bills (+13) over PATRIOTS: The sad happenstance of Pats wideout Josh Gordon yielding to personal issues exacerbates prevailing New England woes, especially given the effects the March of Time has had on this roster. Bills pass defense will give it their all against the aging Tom Brady.

Falcons (-3) over PANTHERS: With Cam Newton out for the season, second-year man Taylor Heinicke will make his starting debut (having completed three of five league passes, lifetime), and the market has made revitalized Atlanta a pronounced (and justified) road favorite.

Jaguars (+4) over DOLPHINS: Jacksonville couldn’t successfully shoulder the burden of marked favoritism last week, even against modest ’Skins QB Josh Johnson. Close call, but fledgling Jags QB Cody Kessler should advance, off that experience.

LIONS (+6) over Vikings: Yes, Minnesota laid waste to Matthew Stafford in their earlier meeting — but that was at home. Visitors’ ground game revitalized, but Lions have been decent in the season’s second half against the run, excepting the issues they encountered vs. the Rams.

BROWNS (-9) over Bengals: Could be just the spot for Cleveland to take another significant step forward, catching Cincinnati off big efforts against the Chargers (themselves off their huge win in Pittsburgh) — then the Raiders (off their own monstrous home upset of the Steelers). Bengals’ defense gets overwhelmed.

CARDINALS (+14) over Rams: Key RB Todd Gurley’s nagging knee is intermediate concern for favorite, whose offensive effectiveness has diminished in recent weeks as foes have discovered means to defensively moderate the previously unstoppable. Winning out would earn first-round bye, but cocky chalk can’t be too presumptuous off consecutive losses, since the Cards can play defense and are at home.

49ERS (+4) over Bears: Chicago stuffed the Rams in the Soldier Field cold, and subsequent disposal of Aaron Rodgers got ’em to 10-4, securing NFC North title. It’s too early to go “to the wall” every week with bigger fish to fry, hence treacherous spot for visitor vs. improving entity.

Steelers (+5 ½) over SAINTS: Pittsburgh could assure themselves of the AFC North if they rise to this challenge — if the Ravens went down to the Chargers on Saturday. Saints clinch top NFC seed with one more win — and hosts beat-up Carolina and green QB Taylor Heinicke in their finale — but Saints offense has lessened in efficiency.

SEAHAWKS (+2½) over Chiefs: Kansas City is in a cozier divisional position, because the Bolts must pass them for a bye — and L.A. played first, hosting the dangerous Ravens on Saturday night. Chiefs A-OK, if they win out and no key personnel get hurt. Seattle doesn’t need this, with Cards likely Week 17 victims.

Monday

Broncos (-3) over RAIDERS: Looms last roundup in Oakland for the Raiders — not strictly a one-way blessing, should the home fans sustain justifiable levels of disappointment about the loss of a heartfelt civic asset. The Broncos should survive, given chronic Raiders offensive-line issues and their eternal difficulties of converting third downs into fresh sets.

Last week: 8-7
Season: 100-103-2

Follow Richard Witt on Twitter: @rich_witt1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *