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December 22, 2018

Week 16 NFL picks: Rounding up the experts' predictions for Eagles-Texans

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122218_Pederson_usat Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson.

Last week, nearly everyone was picking the Eagles to lose to the Rams in L.A. — with the exception of my boss, Lexie Norcross, who assured me throughout the week leading up to the game that Nick Foles would lead the Birds to victory. In fact, I was so sure the Rams would win, that I told Lexie I'd give her a shout-out in the predictions story this week. Lesson learned.

This week, the picks for Sunday's Eagles game against the Rams are much more split, but locally, it's slanted much more in the Birds' favor. Not so much nationally...

We've broken down the injuries and offered our own predictions for this one. Now, as we do every weekend, it's time to take a look around the nation to see how the various experts, both local and national, think Sunday's matchup is going to play out.

•  PhillyVoice staff: Four of five are taking the Eagles in this one, with the lone exception being yours truly. Here's a look at what sports editor Evan Macy had to say (since he has the best record of any of us picking Birds game).

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. Eagles 34, Texans 21

•  ESPN staff: Six of their 10 experts are picking the Eagles to beat the Texans on Sunday.

•  Tim McManus, ESPN.com: Eagles 28, Texans 24

The Eagles are a loose group right now and are riding the momentum Foles helped create in an upset win over the Rams in Week 15. The defensive line stepped up its game in that victory and will be key Sunday as well. Houston has yielded a league-high 52 sacks this season. If Philly's defensive front can keep that trend going, it has a good shot at pulling out the win. 

•  Turron Davenport, ESPN.com: Texans 31, Eagles 24

After seeing their nine-game winning streak broken, the Texans are looking to get another streak started by following up last week's win against the Jets with a victory against the Eagles. Houston's rush defense is fourth in the league, allowing 88.3 yards per game, and it'll look to slow down Nick Foles' aerial game by getting pressure from J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. The Texans have scored 29 or more points in three of their past four games. With a first-round bye at stake, Deshaun Watson will lead his team to a tough road win.

•  Elliot Harrison, NFL.com: Eagles 27, Texans 20

Juicy interconference tilt, spiked with playoff spice: The Texans are trying to pack away the AFC South from those annoying Colts, while the Eagles' stunning win over the Rams -- coupled with an equally-surprising Seahawks loss to the 49ers -- puts the defending champs back in the running for an NFC wild-card slot. If Philadelphia's offensive line kicks ass like it did at the Coliseum, opening a few lanes for Josh Adams while providing Nick Foles ample time to find someone besides Zach Ertz, it's "Rocky" theme song time. Not an easy task, as the Texans' front four took over in the waning moments against the Jets. The Eagles must double DeAndre Hopkins and make someone else beat them. Not trusting Houston's offensive line to be the difference in this stiff road challenge, especially if Lamar Miller's a no-go.

•  CBSSports.com staff: Six of their eight experts are picking the Birds to get back above .500 on Sunday.


MORE: Eagles-Texans predictions, odds and broadcast info


•  OddsShark: Their computer model is predicting the Eagles win by a little more than a field goal.

•  Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk: Eagles 20, Texans 13

Here they come, making a late run at a playoff berth that could become an intriguing run in January.

•  Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk: Texans 20, Eagles 17

The Eagles looked great against the Rams, but I don’t think Nick Foles can keep it going against a Texans defense that will shut down the running game and force Foles to pass.

•  Bleacher Report, NFL staff: Eagles 26, Texans 23

The Oilers lost all six of their games against Philly, while the Houston Texans are 0-4 when facing the Eagles. And the majority of our panelists predict that streak will be extended Sunday, with the suddenly energized Eagles laying 2.5 points in a must-win home game against the Texans. ...

Indeed, Houston opened as a 3.5-point favorite, but the Eagles are riding a wave, and this is a favorable matchup for Philadelphia—both historically and immediately. Not only should Jim Schwartz's defensive front be able to bully Houston's vulnerable offensive line, but the 26th-ranked Texans pass defense also could have trouble with the red-hot Foles and his deep group of targets.  

Throw in the injury to Texans running back Lamar Miller, and the Eagles look like the pick with less than a field goal to worry about. 

•  SBNation staff: Four of their six writers are picking the Texans over the Eagles.

•  Bleeding Green Nation staff: Each of their seven writers are picking the Birds.


MORE: The Philly Godfather: Smart money likes 'hungry dog' Eagles at home


•  NJ.com staff: Five of their six writers are picking the Birds to knock off the Texans, including Eagles beat writer Zack Rosenblatt.

The Eagles played their best game of the season in last week’s upset over the Rams, and Nick Foles will remain at the quarterback helm for at least another week. The Texans are fighting for a first-round bye, have one of the best QB-WR duos in the NFL with Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins and an elite front seven, but this is in Philadelphia and the Texans’ secondary is vulnerable. This game will mostly come down to Foles and the offense playing more like it did against the Rams and less like the rest of the season. 

PICK: Eagles 27, Texans 24

•  Philly Influencer staff: Five of their seven writers are picking the Eagles to win on Sunday, including Sean Brace.

The Eagles’ theme for 2018: Too little, too late. Sorry. I loved the win over the Rams, but I can’t believe that everything will start to come together with only two games left. We had our chances. The Titans, Panthers, and Dallas twice. It’s not our year. Vikings win out.

Birds still get the W.

Eagles 27-21.

•  Todd Haislop, Sporting News: Texans 20, Eagles 14

The Eagles will be playing this game knowing that, even if they win, the Cowboys can take the division with a win over the Bucs. The Vikings also will be favored to beat the Lions, complicating Philadelphia’s wild-card chances. Hopefully the playoff picture doesn't distract the Eagles from the fact that their secondary is facing an uphill battle against the Deshaun Watson-DeAndre Hopkins connection, regardless of the weather at The Linc.

•  Vinny Iyer, Sporting News: Texans 24, Eagles 16

The Texans aren't getting much respect here, and the Nick Foles return to Super-stardom is being overblown. He actually will face resistance this week from J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney abusing his underachieving offensive line. Houston will put the Austin high school product in bad situations by stuffing the run. Meanwhile, Desahun Watson will escape the Eagles’ pressure and keep connecting with DeAndre Hopkins downfield. The Texans will back the AFC South in convincing fashion and bury the reigning champions.


RELATED: Jimmy Kempski's Week 16 NFL picks


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