Shawn (6-4, 4-5-1 ATS): I have my doubts about the Green Bay Packers’ ability to “run the table,” as Aaron Rodgers predicted, but I do have confidence in my own chances of doing so. Since my self-induced bye week, I am 2-0 both straight up and at the betting window. I fully expect to keep that rolling this week.
The Houston Texans come to town, as does some cold weather, finally. Dome team or not, adverse conditions would seem to be in their favor, since they like to run the ball and play defense. However, even if some light snow flies, I don’t expect the conditions to be severe enough to be a big factor either way.
The Texans are 6-5 while the Packers are 5-6, but no one is buying it. Vegas has the Packers as 3.5 to 6.5-point favorites, and I believe the Packers will cover the points.
The Texans with the fifth-ranked defense in the league and a decent running game will look to do what the Minnesota Vikings did in week 2. If this was week 2 or week 8, or last season, I would believe that they can, but the Packers have been a different team in the past month.
In the last four weeks, the Packers have lost when their defense failed them. The offense has actually turned it around. In fact, turned it around enough to be ranked 11th in total offense and seventh in passing offense. That is quite a turnaround from last season and the first eight weeks of this season.
The Texans, like the Eagles last week, don’t have enough offense to beat the Packers in a high scoring game. They will look to keep the Packers’ offense off the field and the score down. Injuries at the linebacker position for the Packers could help the Texans mightily in this regard. This best chance to win is to get 100-plus yards from Lamar Miller, who is capable.
Obviously, based what I’ve already said, I don’t think the Texans can pull it off. They may have a decent defense, statistically, but Aaron Rodgers has destroyed them before when they had a high-ranked defense. Rodgers and the Packers’ passing attack has been clicking the past couple weeks and I don’t expect the Texans can do much better than just slowing it down.
The Texans are not particularly good at stopping the run, for otherwise being a good defense. Thus, maybe this is the week the Packers find a running game. That would be ideal with tougher games on the horizon.
This is a must win for the Packers, and they cannot afford to look ahead or past anyone.
Packers 24, Texans 13
Monty (6-5, 3-6-2 ATS): This game might be more about who is actually on the football field come game time. The Green Bay Packers could be without three linebackers — Jake Ryan, Blake Martinez and Clay Matthews — and cornerback Damarious Randall. The Houston Texans will be without J.J. Watt, who was shut down in early October, and Jadeveon Clowney, who didn’t even make the trip to Green Bay.
I am going to go ahead and assume that enough of the Packers’ injured will play for the defense not to be in complete shambles.
So then the call in this game comes down to one thing for me: offense.
The Packers and Aaron Rodgers are on a roll on that side of the ball lately. Or more accurately, they have been improving just about every week, putting together their most complete game last week in Philly.
It would be nice if they would run the football for a change. It would also be nice if they did so with someone other than James Starks. Maybe we’ll see that this week and maybe we won’t. Regardless, I still expect Rodgers to carve up this defense.
That will then leave it to Brock Osweiler and the Texans to match. Well, I don’t see that happening regardless of what shape the Packers’ defense is in. Osweiler is looking like a $72 million mistake.
I’m still not totally sold that the Packers have turned it around after a single victory, but I do think they’re good enough to beat a mediocre Houston Texans team.
And look, if they want to keep this season alive, they better beat a mediocre Houston Texans team.
Packers 32, Texans 24