What to watch for: Texans vs. Eagles

The line: Eagles -9

What the line tells us: Vegas is practically begging you to take the Texans on this one. The Eagles are coming off a tough loss last week at Chicago while the Texans are coming off a shutout win over the Titans. Before taking the Texans with the points here are a few things to take into consideration:

Both teams are coming off short weeks, however the home team has a huge advantage in this one. The Texans are just 4-6-1 this year against the spread while the Eagles are 9-1 in their last 10 games in December and have a 7-3 combined record in their last 10 against teams from outside of their division.

Key matchups:

Andre Johnson vs. Eagles CB’s

With Asante Samuel officially inactive the Philadelphia secondary has its hands full. Whoever has the task of trying to matchup with Johnson will certainly have his hands full. Look for the Birds to try and confuse quarterback Matt Schaub with a lot of blitzes and mixing up the coverages to force him into mistakes.

Jason Peters vs. Mario Williams

There’s no doubt Williams is a freak athletically and must be accounted for on each snap. He leads the team with 8.5 sacks and Peters will certainly have his hands full, but Peters has been playing very well lately. He shut down Dwight Freeney and Osi Umenyiora in consecutive weeks and last week handled Julius Peppers rather effectively. It will be interesting to see how many times Head Coach Andy Reid leaves Peters isolated one on one with Williams.

Arian Foster vs. The Eagles run defense

The NFL’s leading rusher comes head to head with an Eagles rush defense ranked sixth in the NFC in yards allowed. Linebacker Stuart Bradley had a great game against the Giants two weeks ago when he aided in holding running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs to only 39 yards rushing. However, he played horribly last week while Bears running back Matt Forte carved up the Birds defense with 117 yards rushing on only 14 carries.

Michael Vick and Eagles WR’s vs. Texans Secondary

The Texans ranked 31st in the NFL in passing yards allowed and I fully expect the trend to continue tonight. This should be a game where the Birds offense gets back on track allowing players like Vick, Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin to shine.

Prediction: The matchups appear to be pretty even, but when I weigh the advantage the Eagles offense has over the Texans defense it seems too much for the Texans to handle. The Birds will benefit from being the home team coming off a short week and reestablish themselves as NFC contenders.

Eagles 38, Texans 24

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