Week 17 NFL Picks: Jaguars & Texans Will Go 'Over' 45 In Houston

Ted Sevransky

Thursday, December 31, 2015 2:02 AM GMT

Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015 2:02 AM GMT

Our NFL handicapper offers his insight on next Sunday's game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans and concludes his analysis with an NFL pick.

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NFL Pick: Over 45 

Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

The Texans are trying to clinch the AFC South title.  Indianapolis is still mathematically alive to win the division but they’ll need to beat the Titans, have the Texans lose to the Jaguars, and have the Bengals, Patriots, Saints, Jets, Chargers, Chiefs and Ravens all lose.  That’s a nine team moneyline parlay that Indy needs to cash in order to end the Texans season after Week 17.  Realistically, that’s not going to happen.  Houston is likely to clinch their division title even if they lose at home to Jacksonville.

We’ve got no early week line for this game because of the Texans situation at quarterback.  Brandon Weeden enjoyed his best game as a pro last week in Tennessee, with a 116.7 passer rating while averaging 8.3 yards per attempt.  Of course, the Titans are arguably the single worst team in the NFL right now, and Weeden’s long term track record as a starter in Cleveland and Dallas doesn’t inspire much confidence that he can do it again, even with pro bowl WR DeAndre Hopkins making spectacular catches on a weekly basis. 

Bill O’Brien and his staff would love to put Weeden back where he belongs – on the sidelines, holding a clipboard – if regular starter Brian Hoyer can pass his concussion protocol.  That’s no sure thing.  Hoyer has been fighting injuries every time he’s won the starting QB job, both in Cleveland and here in Houston.  It is worth noting that Hoyer is probably worth about a field goal to the pointspread.  If it’s Weeden, I’d expect this line to come in the range of -5.  If Hoyer is behind center for the Texans, we can expect a point spread closer to -8 on the NFL odds board.

The Texans haven’t been able to run the football all year.  Last week, playing with a big lead against a downtrodden foe, Houston still gained only 128 yards on their 42 carries, an average of just 3.0 yards per rush.  RB’s Alfred Blue, Chris Polk and Jonathan Grimes don’t exactly scare opposing defenses – between them, they have only three rushing touchdowns on 310 rushing attempts this season; one of the myriad of reasons why the Texans are likely to be the single lowest power rated team in the playoffs this year, even after notching six victories in their last eight games.

The Jaguars have regressed significantly since a 3-1 midseason run put them back in playoff contention, losing four of their last five.  Four different teams have ended long losing streaks with wins over the Jags.  Tampa and Tennessee ended 11 game home losing streaks by beating the Jags.  And San Diego and Atlanta both snapped six game skids with road wins against them.  Gus Bradley’s team has been eliminated from the playoff hunt once again, even in the weakest division in football.  This is the ultimate ‘meaningless’ Week 17 game for the road team.

Jacksonville’s defense is truly bottom tier; unable to get consistent stops even against lesser offenses.  But Blake Bortles and the Jaguars downfield passing game have been putting up big numbers, week after week.  Bortles ranks #6 in the NFL in passing yards this season, and he’s right behind Tom Brady, #2 in passing touchdowns with 35 TD’s on the campaign.  We saw 51 points on the scoreboard when these two teams met back in October, a game that was totaled at 43.5.  We can expect the posted total to come in a similar range in this matchup and I wouldn’t be shocked in the slightest if the Over-trending Jaguars end up in another high scoring affair here.  Recommendation: Lean towards the Over with your NFL picks.

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