Free NFL Picks Week 8: Detroit Lions vs Houston Texans

Brock Osweiler throwing the ball to his teammates

Wednesday, October 26, 2016 9:25 PM GMT

There are just four NFL games in Week 8 that feature teams with winning records, and Sunday's matchup in Houston between the Lions and Texans is one of them. The hosts are -2.5 on 5Dimes NFL odds with a total of 45.

 

Lions What To Watch For

Detroit (4-3) is two games in the loss column behind first-place Minnesota in the NFC North. The Lions enter this one on a three-game winning streak, all of those coming at home and in the final minute by a combined seven points. So is this team lucky or good?

It's time to start talking about Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford as an NFL MVP candidate as he's having his best season. In last week's 20-17 win over Washington, Stafford hit Anquan Boldin on the winning 18-yard touchdown pass with 16 seconds left. It was the third straight week (also vs. Eagles and Rams) that the Lions overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to win at home. They are only the fifth team in league history to rally in the fourth quarter to win at home in three consecutive weeks in the same season. The last to do so was the 2011 Cardinals.

Stafford threw for 266 yards in his 100th career NFL game and the TD pass in the final minute of the fourth quarter was his ninth since 2009, the most in the NFL. Believe it or not, Stafford's 27,890 passing yards are the most by any player in his first 100 games to begin a career. You might have thought Peyton Manning or Tom Brady or Drew Brees would have more. The Lions have played 16 games since head coach Jim Caldwell fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and replaced him with Jim Bob Cooter (best name!) last season. Stafford has completed 69 percent of his passes while throwing for 4,310 yards, 35 touchdowns and only eight interceptions in that span. Stafford's passer rating is 105.4. Those are MVP numbers if accomplished in one season. Stafford is currently +4000 on Bovada's NFL odds to win MVP.

The Lions' top cornerback, Darius Slay, hurt his hamstring vs. Washington and is in question this week. That would be big as he would cover DeAndre Hopkins. Detroit is 4-3 ATS this season and 4-3 O/U.


Texans What To Watch For

Short week for Houston (4-3), which leads the terrible AFC South by a game. I expected the Texans to lose fairly big in a low-scoring game Monday night in Denver and they did, 27-9. Brock Osweiler was signed by Houston this offseason for some $72 million as a free agent from the Broncos, and Osweiler was not welcomed back warmly. He was absolutely awful, completing 22-for-41 for just 131 yards while also losing a fumble. Osweiler's 131 passing yards were the second-fewest in NFL history by a quarterback who attempted at least 40 passes (Giants' Jesse Palmer with 110 in 2003). He was 0-for-7 on passes that were 15 yards or more downfield. Osweiler averaged more yards per carry (5.3) on three rushing attempts than he averaged per pass (3.2).

Texans head coach Bill O'Brien says he hasn't considered benching Osweiler, who is 0-3 on the road. And the quarterback has been much at home, where he's 4-0 in completing 63 percent of his passes for 255.5 yards per game and seven TD passes (but six picks).

Houston lost right tackle Derek Newton to a serious injury in the Denver loss and he's not playing here. Running back Lamar Miller injured his shoulder but should play. The Texans are 3-3-1 ATS on NFL picks and 3-4 O/U.

The Lions simply aren't the same team on the road and they are not great against the pass. So Osweiler should bounce back. Take Houston and the 'under.' The Texans' defense also has played much better at

NFL Free Picks: Houston -125 and Under 45 (-101)

Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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