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

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

Philly came back from their bye last week and destroyed 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 Week 1 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 will have to change in a big way.

Will the Eagles stay undefeated or will the Texans take them down? We’ll find out soon enough. In the meantime, we will analyze the match.

How to watch

Date: Thursday, November 3 | Year: 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: NRG Stadium (Houston)
Stream: Amazon Prime Video
Follow: CBS Sports app
Chance: Eagles -13.5, O/U 45.5

Selected game | Houston Texans vs. Philadelphia Eagles

When the Eagles have the ball

Last week, Philadelphia’s passing game took center stage. On Thursday night, it could be the rushing attack.

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

Houston’s pass rush has pressured at a league-average rate so far this season (32.0% of opponent’s snaps, per Tru Media), and Philly has allowed about the same amount of pressure (31.8%), but the Hertz’s ability to escape pressure makes getting him on the ground a chore. He has moved downfield on nearly 32% of snaps, gaining an average of 7.3 yards per scramble. Only seven teams have yielded more yards per game than the Texans, so Hurts could have a field day before taking off against the pass rush.

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Hurts has shown much improvement as a passer this season, and while some of that can be attributed to the acquisition of AJ Brown allowing him to access the middle of the field much more often than he did a year ago (47.9 % of his pass attempts has dropped to middling this season vs. 36.3% last season, according to Tru Media), some of that being his improved decision-making and overall determination.

Hurts is releasing the ball an average of 2.88 seconds per down this season, compared to 3.22 seconds last season. He has released 52.8% of his passes within 2.5 seconds, compared to just 37.3% last year. Getting the ball out quicker allowed the Browns, DeVonda Smith and especially Dallas Geddert to make hay with yards after the catch. Goedert ranks eighth in the league in yards after catches above expectations per reception, according to NFL.com’s Next Generation Stats. (He’s one of 112 players with at least 23 goals.)

The Texans have done a pretty good job against tight ends this season (10th in DVOA, per Football Outsiders), but the Nos. 1 and 2 receivers have found a lot of success against them. Coupled with the high potential for rushing success for the Eagles, it’s hard to see Houston getting too many stops in this contest.

When the Texans have the ball

Normally I wouldn’t put much stock in house-street splits. But Davis Mills were so big last year, and they are 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 court, per Tru Media. Fortunately for the Texans, this game is being played at home.

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Unfortunately for the Texans, it’s being played against an Eagles defense built to stifle this Houston passing game. Philadelphia’s defensive backfield is playing like any in the league right now, with Darius Slay and James Bradbury ranking among the best small corners in the NFL this season. Houston will also be without Nico Collins for this contest, while Brandin Cooks is listed as questionable (and is not excited to still be with the Texans). If Cooks plays, the Eagles are set up well enough to give him significant attention and force Mills to fly elsewhere. Phillip Dorsett and Chris Moore don’t scare anyone, and the tight end trio isn’t 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 has taken a hit with Jordan Davis out injured. Philadelphia’s opponents have run the ball 75 times with Davis in the backfield, for a total of 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 the Eagles’ opponents to at least try to run the ball more often without him in the lineup. If Dameon Pierce can start, it can help the Texans in their efforts to control the ball and the clock, reduce the number of possessions and try to increase the level of variation in this matchup. The success of this strategy, however, also depends on the Texans defense being able to get stops, which seems highly unlikely.

Prediction: Eagles 31, Texans 10

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