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Seattle Seahawks @ Houston Texans - Week 14

 
 
 
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SEA HOU
Seattle Seahawks (4-8) at Houston Texans (2-10)

Week 14’s contest between the Seattle Seahawks and the Houston Texans pairs one team’s greatest weakness with the other’s strength. NFL coaches like to talk about the importance of establishing the run in order to win games, but that could wind up being difficult for Houston in this matchup.
 
The Texans run game has been abysmal this year, ranking #32 in the league while averaging just 3.04 yards per carry. And not just in terms of efficiency, but also total yards, as they've managed just 72 yards per game on the ground, (#1-worst in football). Making this worse is that they're clearly trying to get the run game going, rushing on 42.2% of their total plays, #5-most in the league. And while most would first look to blame the running back when a team is struggling like this, it's really the offensive line that is most responsible, especially when it comes to the Texans -- their offensive line ranks just #23-best in the NFL. If they aren't making blocks and opening holes, there's only so much the running backs can do. Teams struggling to get the run game going can get creative and involve their wide receivers via jet sweeps and other types of misdirection (which tend to gain more yards than your typical running back handoff), but the Texans haven’t done that, ranking just #32 in the league with 0.1% of their rush attempts going to wideouts.

The outlook for Houston may be gloomy this week, as the Seahawks enter with the #4-best rush defense in the league, holding opponents to just 3.95 yards per carry. Their run defense has been so potent in part because of their defensive tackles, which as a unit rank as the #2-best in terms of run-stopping.

Now, the run game is generally less important than the pass game, but both are important in order for a football team to thrive, and given how this matchup sets up, Houston may have to rely on their pass game in order to win. At the very least, though, we can say that Seattle's defense has a decided advantage over them on the ground, which could make it easier for their coaching staff to game-plan for the Texans.
 
Photo by Thomas B. Shea - Getty Images
 
 
The Seahawks have lost 3 consecutive road games, while the Texans have lost 5 consecutive home games. These road/home streaks make the game one of the more intriguing matchups on the slate. The visiting Seahawks will have to travel over ~1912 miles and across 2 time zones to get to Houston. Historically, long road trips have an adverse effect on the visiting team, so it's possible the Seahawks and may have to battle jet lag or a disruption to their normal weekly routine. The long travel should help Houston's home field advantage.
 
This matchup has the #1 lowest Game Total this week. Low Totals imply there will be a lack of scoring opportunities and also correlates to a lack of offensive yards. Sizable line movement toward the Under has shifted the Game Total. It opened 44.5 before it was bet down to 41.0. The Over has approximately 62% of the bets, but only 33% of the cash.
 
PROJECTION:
Seattle Seahawks - 25.69
Houston Texans - 17.62

Win Probability:
SEA 77% / HOU 23%
 
 
 
 
 
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