This column followed up a perfect Week 3 with a gruesome Week 4, and now its season total sits at 4-3.
Here are this week’s best bets -- odds via DraftKings -- as the Jacksonville Jaguars host the Houston Texans.
Jaguars team total over 25.5 points (-115)
Whenever Jacksonville has left points on the field this season, it’s felt more like their own fault than anything the opponent did. I’m blaming the Week 1 loss on inexperience/rust and the Week 4 loss on weather. The Jaguars will be looking to right the ship at home against a divisional rival, who happens to be the only team in the league without a win a month into the season.
In addition, both of these teams rank top-six in neutral situation pace. A lot of plays should be expected on what should be a gorgeous 80-degree afternoon in Jacksonville.
James Robinson over 61.5 rushing yards (-130)
Houston’s top two defenders of its 2022 draft class, no. 3 overall pick Derek Stingley Jr. and no. 37 pick Jalen Pitre, have turned the Texans pass defense into a formidable unit under head coach/defensive playcaller Lovie Smith.
However, as Scott Barzilla of Battle Red Blog told us, “The problems lie at linebacker and defensive tackle. The Texans have decent guys at both spots, but they are probably backups/rotational guys masquerading as starters.”
On first or second down in neutral scripts (not a huge lead/deficit), Houston’s defense ranks top-12 in Expected Points Added per play and success rate allowed against passes but bottom-12 in each against rushes. They also rank 25th in run stop win rate, 27th in yards per carry allowed, and 31st in run defense grade. In other words -- bad Texas accent -- they ain’t all that good at stoppin’ the run!
James Robinson carried the ball fewer than a dozen times in the season opener, and the following week Doug Pederson called a run-heavy game against an AFC South foe. I think recent history will repeat itself on Sunday.
Travis Etienne longest rush over 13.5 yards (-115)
The ACC’s all-time leading rusher has just one carry of 13-plus yards and zero touchdowns this season. It’s about time he broke a few, dammit!