Pick 4: Houston vs. Jacksonville and New Orleans vs. Carolina

Pick 4: Houston vs. Jacksonville and New Orleans vs. Carolina

The Teaser: Pair Houston and New Orleans

Game 1: Houston vs. Jacksonville

The Initial Line:

Houston -6.5 away vs. Jacksonville

The Take:

Add 8 points to Houston’s line

The Final Line:

Houston +1.5

The Breakdown:

Houston had its most dominant game of the season on Sunday, winning 45-21 at home. Even though Ryan Fitzpatrick was only playing because Ryan Mallett is out injured, he capitalized to the max with 358 pass yds and a staggering 6 TDs. DeAndre Hopkins also had an amazing game, catching 9 passes for 238 yds and 2 TDs. And of course JJ Watt wanted to be the star once again, so all he did was force and recover a fumble, record 2 sacks, and catch a TD pass. Jacksoville was able to earn its 2nd win of the season, defeating New York 25-24 at home. They found themselves down 21-0 early, but rallied back behind Blake Bortles 194 pass yds, 68 rush yds, and a pass TD.

Houston now sits at 6-6 in a tough AFC division, but still has an outside shot at the playoffs. They most likely would have to win their remaining 4 games to stay in contention, and that starts on the road this weekend vs. Jacksonville. They sit 2nd in the NFL in turnover differential and 1st in takeaways with 28, due in large part to the MVP candidate JJ Watt. Jacksonville sits on the other side, ranking 3rd to last in turnover differential and has given up the 5th most yds in the NFL. I’d be surprised if this is a contest this weekend, Houston clearly has more talent and is fighting for a playoff spot. Take them at +1.5 to win this game as they will not let their playoff hopes die in Jacksonville.

Game 2: New Orleans vs. Carolina

The Initial Line:

New Orleans -10.5 home vs. Carolina

The Take:

Add 8 points to New Orleans’ line

The Final Line:

New Orleans -2.5

The Breakdown:

New Orleans got their second straight road win Sunday after breaking a 7-loss drought, defeating Pittsburgh 35-32. Although the defense gave up over 500 yds and 32 pts, the offense came alive and showed why everyone had high hopes for them this year. Drew Brees threw for 257 yds and 5 TDs in the game, while Mark Ingram added 122 rush yds on the ground. The defense also forced 2 turnovers which ended up making the difference in this one. Carolina continues to struggle, as they fell on the road to Minnesota 31-13 and lost their 6th straight game. The offense only turned the ball over once (Cam Newton), but the special teams proved to be the difference in the game. Carolina had 2 punts blocked and returned for TDs, but they couldn’t gain ground after a 28-6 deficit at the half.

Despite all of the disappointing games from New Orleans this year, somehow they still find themselves in the playoff hunt with a 5-7 record due to a very weak NFC South division. Even more shocking is that Carolina is still in the picture, only trailing Atlanta and New Orleans by 2 games. However New Orleans showed Sunday that it still has firepower, and I fully expect them to bounce back at home this week. They have lost 3 straight home game, which seems unfathomable after going 2 years without a home loss. This trend will not continue, and they will win against Carolina on Sunday.

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