The Philadelphia Eagles continue their fight for a playoff spot in Week 16 as they host the Houston Texans. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 EST on Sunday, December 23, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Fans in various markets can watch the game on CBS.
According to the Week 16 NFL odds, the Eagles are 1-point favorites at home. The over/under for the game is set at 45.5 points.
Philadelphia’s championship defense got a major boost last week. The Eagles scored a massive win over the Rams, giving them three wins in their last four games and improving their record to 7-7. Unfortunately, the Eagles are still on the outside of the playoff picture with two weeks left to play. The good news is that Philadelphia is still in the mix for both a wild-card spot and the NFC East title.
Needless to say, the Eagles need to win both of their remaining games, both this week against the Texans and next week away at Washington. If that happens, two losses by the Cowboys would give Philadelphia the NFC East crown while one loss by Minnesota in their final two games would give the Eagles a wild-card spot. Of course, getting outside help won’t matter if the Eagles don’t win on Sunday.
As for the Texans, they got back on track last week with a one over the Jets after seeing their 9-game winning streak snapped the previous week. Even at 10-4, Houston has still not clinched a playoff spot, so they are still feeling pressure to win. However, the Texans are close to winning the AFC South and are also in a position to secure a first-round playoff bye.
A win in either of their last two games will give Houston the AFC South title. There are also ways that they can lock up a playoff spot with a loss this week. However, if the Texans beat the Eagles this week and the Jaguars next week, they will secure the no. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs and a first-round bye. That should have Houston plenty motivated to leave Philadelphia with a win.
The Eagles are coming home with a lot of confidence and momentum, but that doesn’t mean they’re the better team in this game. Philadelphia’s recent wins have come against losing teams and a Rams side that’s suddenly struggling. I feel more comfortable siding with the team that’s won 10 of their last 11 games, especially when they’re actually the underdog.
In fairness, Nick Foles did a great job of stepping in for the injured Carson Wentz last week. Last year’s Super Bowl MVP gives the Eagles a legitimate chance to win their final two games. He’s proven himself to be a trustworthy backup. Foles wasn’t brilliant by any stretch against the Rams last week, but he seems to have good chemistry with Alshon Jeffery. Having a receiver outside of tight end Zach Ertz who’s a legitimate threat is what the Eagles need right now.
That being said, I don’t want to jump on the Foles bandwagon after one game. Remember, he had his ups and downs late in the regular season last year before finding his groove in the playoffs. He was also solid but unspectacular early in the season before Wentz returned. Foles is a great placeholder, but the Eagles have no margin for error these last two weeks, and I’m not sold on him carrying the team on his back.
I also think the Houston defense will provide more resistance than the Rams did last week. The Eagles finally got something substantial out of their running game last week, which definitely made things a little easier for Foles. But the Texans are one of the best in the league against the run, giving up just 3.6 yards per carry. They also have a scary pass rush led by J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. The Philadelphia offensive line held up well last week against Aaron Donald and company. But they have another big challenge ahead of them, especially if they don’t get the same production out of their running game.
On the other side of the ball, I still have some lingering questions about the Philadelphia defense. The Eagles have a pass rush that’s average at best, so I’m not sure if they can take full advantage of Houston’s biggest weakness, which is their offensive line. The Texans also have a steady rushing attack, making things a lot easier on Deshaun Watson.
It’s also worth noting that the Texans have the fifth-fewest turnovers in the NFL, so they don’t beat themselves. The Eagles may not be able to count on creating three takeaways like they have each of the past two weeks. Also, winning the turnover battle wasn’t enough against the Cowboys a couple of weeks ago, and it may not be enough against the Texans.
In the end, this should be a close and competitive game. Foles will surely do enough to give the Eagles a chance. However, the Texans have found ways to win time and time again this season, even on the road. I don’t know if the Eagles have enough to beat a quality team for the second week in a row. In a virtual PK, I like the Texans on the road.