NFL picks and predictions, Ravens vs. Texans 2014: Baltimore unanimous choice on the road
The Ravens need some help to make the playoffs, but none of it matters unless they defeat Houston on the road this week.
The Baltimore Ravens will pay the Houston Texans a visit hoping to improve their playoff chances. But the Texans will have motivation that goes beyond pure pride; even though the Indianapolis Colts have already taken the AFC South crown, the Texans have not been eliminated from the playoffs just yet. It’s unlikely, especially with quarterback being a snake-bitten position in Houston, but their postseason hopes are technically still alive.
At 9-5, the Ravens have much higher odds of playing in January, though it’s not a certainty in a crowded AFC North race. As winners of four of their last five, they’re looking to ride that momentum for the last two games of the regular season. Quarterback Joe Flacco has had an up-and-down season, but remains on pace for career highs in passing yards and touchdowns. However, he’ll have face the scariest defender of them all on Sunday.
J.J. Watt is having an MVP-type season, even though his team is just 7-7 and on life support in the playoff picture. So far this season, he has 16.5 sacks, forced three fumbles and has scored five touchdowns — two on the defensive side and three on the offensive side.
Whether he lines up as a tight end against the Ravens remains to be seen, as does who the Texans will start at quarterback. They’ve already lost Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett and Tom Savage to injury, leaving journeyman Thad Lewis and recently signed Case Keenum as the team’s only options.
As such, Houston is a 5-point home underdog according to OddsShark. The over/under is 41.5 points in a contest that could be a defensive slugfest. Both squads rank in the top 10 in scoring defense, with each allowing just under 20 points per game.
SB Nation makes it a rout, with everyone picking the road team:
|Ryan Van Bibber||Stephen White||Joel Thorman||David Fucillo||Danny Kelly||PFT Commenter||Matt Ufford||OddsShark Computer|
|BAL @ HOU||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL||BAL|