December 21, 2018
Another week, another division-leading opponent — and another must-win game for the Eagles.
While the Birds can theoretically still make the playoffs even after a loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday, with one game left after this, their odd will plummet should they fall at home in Week 16. After a stunning upset of the Rams on national TV last week, the Eagles are currently the favorites in this one, despite the Texans having won 10 if their last 11 games.
Can Nick Foles and the Eagles pull off another big win as the 2018 regular season quickly nears its end? Here's how our staff sees Sunday's penultimate game unfolding...
TV: CBS | RADIO: 94.1 WIP
SPREAD: Eagles (-1.5) | TOTAL: 46.0 (via Bovada)
The Eagles' biggest, most consistent strength, their defensive line, matches up perfectly with the Texans biggest weakness, their offensive line. As we noted in our five matchups to watch, the Texans have allowed 52 sacks and 107 hits on the quarterback this season, both of which lead the NFL. They've also allowed at least 3 sacks in each of their last 6 games, and 26 sacks overall during that span. They are going to have a very difficult time trying to deal with Fletcher Cox, Michael Bennett, and Brandon Graham, who are all playing their best football of the season the last few games.
The Texans are a 10-4 team, and they have a few supremely talented players on both sides of the ball, but they're still a highly flawed team, due to their creaky offensive line. The Eagles will aim to take away the Texans' rushing attack, which will be missing starting running back Lamar Miller, and try to make them one-dimensional. I believe they can, and will do just that. Then they can pin their ears back and attack Houston's overmatched offensive line.
This is fun. I can pick the Eagles to win a meaningful game again. Who would have thought? As to whether the Vikings will lose — a necessity for the Birds to make the playoffs — I am not super confident. But I am confident that the Eagles will take care of business these next two weeks.
They have re-ignited fire that resembles the postseason run from last year and I do believe that the Texans are very much overrated and have an inflated 10-4 record due to lack of touch competition. They'll struggle to run the ball and the Eagles will find a way to keep DeShaun Watson in the pocket. I think it'll be a decisive Philly victory.
Remember when I mentioned those 10 wins in 11 games for the Texans? Well, there's something about that you should know. Just two of those wins (Cowboys and Titans) came against teams with winning records. The rest came against some of bad to mediocre competition.
So why am I predicting an Eagles' loss? Mainly because we don't know what the Eagles are right now. At 7-7 on the season, are they much better than those mediocre teams the Texans have been handling week in and week out? Despite their win over the Rams, I say no.
That upset in L.A. has caused most locally to buy back in on the Eagles — but this isn't the 2017 Eagles, no matter how badly fans want that to be the case. I see a big let down coming. Just when the Birds look like they've figured things out, they go and lay an egg at home right before Christmas? There's just something extremely Philly about that. Sorry.
Believing in another week of Nick Foles magic (and defensive playmaking, of course) makes as much sense as anything else. Here’s hoping they set up for a meaningful final week.
Nick Foles has made me a temporary believer, but can the defense play well again as they did against the Rams? While everyone seems to have been focused on Foles, the real story of the Eagles extended life is how well the defense has played the last two weeks. I can see the defense holding up one more week against the most porous offensive line in the NFL.
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