We've almost made it to the NFL playoffs, but first we have Week 18 to navigate and that's not a bad thing.
The Houston Texans teams came up big last weekend, but they'll diverge this weekend and there's a rare instance of a game where we're taking one team over and the other under in the same game.
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Texans vs. Colts Team Total Prediction
I had to double-check what I was seeing when I saw the Texans were favored by 1.5 points, but the team totals were the same in this matchup.
Let's start with the Texans. C.J. Stroud is back and healthy and what a difference the rookie makes for one of the league's feel-good stories of the season, going from 3-13-1 to 9-7 and playing for the division title in Week 17.
It's not that Stroud did anything spectacular against the Tennessee Titans, it's that he makes the easy throws and makes very few mistakes. Workmanlike is a word that comes to mind.
The Texans are banged up on both sides of the ball, but even with Stroud missing two games Houston is 10th in total offense, while averaging 22 points per game. They just find a way, no matter who is in or out of the lineup.
The Texans defense has been middle of the road and not very good against the pass, but the Indianapolis Colts haven't exactly been lighting it up over the last couple of weeks in a loss to Atlanta and a close win over the Las Vegas Raiders.
If the Texans turnaround shows anything, it's that drafting the right quarterback and coaching matters. They have the advantage on both fronts and will do enough to reach 24 and hold Indianapolis to less than that number.
It won't be easy and it may not be pretty, but I trust DeMeco Ryans' crew is motivated to get the job done on both sides of the ball on the road, and after the last half decade in Houston, that is saying something.
Picks: Texans OVER 23.5 points and Colts UNDER 23.5 points
Lions vs. Vikings Team Total Prediction
Minnesota still has an outside shot at making the playoffs and when I say outside shot, I mean almost none.
The Detroit Lions, on the other hand, are likely still smarting from their demise in Dallas and can handle it one of two ways. Let it eat at them, or take it out on the Vikings.
The Lions have clinched, but Dan Campbell has indicated his starters will play this week.
Detroit averages 26.9 points per game and is a juggernaut at home, averaging north of 30 points per contest.
This is a gamble that Campbell plays his starters for most, if not all, of the game, but 24 points is not too much to ask.
Picks: Lions OVER 23.5 points
Cowboys vs Commanders Team Total Prediction
Maybe it's because the Dallas Cowboys burned me last weekend, but I'm sensing this is too much to ask of a Dallas offense on the road.
The Cowboys roll at home and average only a shade over 21 on the road, but they are facing one of the league's worst defenses in Washington.
The Cowboys win and win easily, but getting ahead early will lead to enough conservative play calling in the second half for Dallas to end up under the number.
Pick: Cowboys UNDER 29.5 points
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
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