Eagles at Texans: Time, how to watch, live streaming, key matchups, pick for ‘Thursday Night Football’

Eagles at Texans: Time, how to watch, live streaming, key matchups, pick for ‘Thursday Night Football’

On the Week 9 edition of “Thursday Night Football,” the league’s last undefeated team takes its perfect record on the road as the Philadelphia Eagles travel to Houston to face the Texans.

Philly came back from their bye last week and demolished the Pittsburgh Steelers, 35-13. On the season, the Eagles are averaging 28 points per game and are winning by more than 11 points per contest. Houston, meanwhile, has lost back to back games since the bye week and is now just 1-5-1 overall. The Texans have yet to score more than 24 points in a single game this season, so if they are going to win this one, something needs to change in a big way.

Will the Eagles remain undefeated or will the Texans knock them off the bench? We will soon find out. In the meantime, we’ll break down the fight.

How to see

Date: Thursday 3 November | Time: 8:20 PM ET
Placement: NRG Stadium (Houston)
Stream: Amazon Prime Video
Follow: CBS Sports app
Odds: Eagles -13.5, O/U 45.5

Featured game | Houston Texans vs. Philadelphia Eagles

When the Eagles have the ball

Last week, the Philadelphia passing game took center stage. On Thursday night, it could be the drug offence.

Houston has the NFL’s worst run defense, allowing 1,302 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground, on 234 opponents. Football Outsiders has the Texans dead last in adjusted line yards against, a strong indicator of how easy it has been for opposing running backs to get through the teeth of the defense. Philadelphia sports arguably the best offensive line in the NFL (it checks in eighth in Pro Football Focus’ run-blocking grades, and first in pass blocking), and Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders should be able to easily rack up yards behind it all night long.

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Houston’s pass rush has gotten pressure at a league-average rate so far this season (32.0% of opponents’ dropbacks, per Tru Media), and Philly has allowed pressure at about the same rate (31.8%), but Hurts’ ability to moving away from pressure makes getting him to the ground a difficult task. He has taken off downfield on nearly 32% of pressured dropbacks, averaging 7.3 yards per scramble. Only seven teams have given up more yards per scramble than the Texans, so Hurts could have a field day moving before taking off against the pass rush.

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Hurts has shown vast improvements as a passer this season, and while some of that can be attributed to the acquisition of AJ Brown, allowing him access to the middle of the field far more often than he did a year ago (47.9% of his pass attempts) . has been thrown over the middle this season vs. 36.3% last season, per Tru Media), some of that is his improved decision-making and overall determination.

Hurts is dropping the ball at an average of 2.88 seconds per dropback this season, compared to 3.22 seconds last season. He has completed 52.8% of his passes within 2.5 seconds, when last year he did so just 37.3% of the time. Getting the ball out quicker has allowed Brown, DeVonta Smith and especially Dallas Goedert to make hay with yards after the catch. Goedert checks in eighth in the league in yards per catch per reception, according to NFL.com’s Next Gen Stats. (That’s out of 112 pass catchers with at least 23 targets.)

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The Texans have done a pretty good job against opposing tight ends this season (10th in DVOA, per Football Outsiders), but the No. 1 and 2 receivers have found plenty of success against them. Combined with the high probability of quick success for the Eagles, it’s hard to see Houston getting very many stops in this contest.

When the Texans have the ball

Normally I wouldn’t put too much stock in home road splits. But Davis Mills’ were so wide last year and are again this year, so I think there might be something for them here. In the friendly confines of NRG Stadium, Mills has completed 218 of 319 passes (68.3%) for 2,363 yards (7.4 per attempt), 17 touchdowns and four interceptions. Elsewhere, Mills is just 194 of 311 (62.4%) for 1,803 yards (5.8 per attempt), seven touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His passer rating drops from 102.4 to 69.6 and his average EPA per game drops from 0.01 to -0.24 when he leaves his home stadium, according to Tru Media. Fortunately for the Texans, this game is being played at home.

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Unfortunately for the Texans, they are playing against an Eagles defense built to stifle this Houston passing game. Philadelphia’s defensive backfield is playing as well as any in the league at the moment, with Darius Slay and James Bradberry ranking among the small handful of best corners in the NFL this season. Houston will also be without Nico Collins in this contest, while Brandin Cooks is listed as questionable (and is not thrilled to still be with the Texans). If Cooks plays, the Eagles are set up pretty well to devote significant attention to him and force Mills to throw elsewhere. Phillip Dorsett and Chris Moore don’t scare anyone, and the three-way tight end committee isn’t nearly explosive enough to keep up with what the Eagles offer offensively.

The Texans may be able to find more success on the ground, where Philadelphia’s defense took a hit with Jordan Davis going on injured reserve. Philadelphia opponents have run the ball 75 times with Davis off the field, totaling 532 yards (6.19 per carry), according to Tru Media. With Davis on the field, opponents’ 65 carries have gained just 271 yards (3.87 per carry). Davis is out for at least the next four games, and we should expect Eagles opponents to at least try to run the ball more often without him in the lineup. If Dameon Pierce can get going, it could help the Texans in their efforts to control the ball and the clock, decrease the number of possessions and try to increase the level of variety in this contest. However, the success of that strategy also depends on the Texas defense’s ability to make stops, which seems highly unlikely.

Prediction: Eagles 31, Texans 10

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