The pop looks to have dropped from Houston’s play since their ten-game winning streak came to an end, but they did manage to keep grinding through the final few weeks of the regular season to secure a home game this weekend.
What they don’t have is much offence.
Outside of DeAndre Hopkins and their all-action quarterback Deshaun Watson it’s very difficult to get too excited about the Texans’ points potential here. They’re using the QB more in the rushing game in recent weeks, and he’s picked up scores, but it’ll be their defensive front that’ll decide this game, with JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney going up against the Colts’ line and Andrew Luck.
He’s had a sensational comeback season, and his team, after a slow start, made it over the line and into the playoffs with a win at the Titans last week. They’ve not really got star receiving talent beyond TY Hilton, but the 29-year-old quarterback raises the play of those around him to another level.
They won in Houston in week 14, but you’d wonder if that recent meeting will give the Texans an inside line on Indy’s offence. Also, the scheduling of last week’s decider versus Tennessee means they’re on the shortest week of all playoff teams. Still, the way they’ve played this season, they’re a more exciting, dangerous team than Houston and I’d fancy them to pull off the road upset at even money.
The Seahawks have defied those who thought they looked more Legion of Doom than Boom this season after saying goodbye to several high profile playes.
They’ve survived and thrived through improvement in their offensive line play and they have RB Chris Carson motoring. It means they’re not entirely reliant on Russell Wilson working miracles, though they still have that in reserve, and with Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett catching his passes, they can put it up to the Dallas defence.
The Cowboys have gone down a similar path to the Seahawks, with their offence revolving around running back Ezekiel Elliott and the offensive line he works behind. The good news for Jason Garrett’s team is that both Zack Martin and Tyron Smith can play this week despite injuries.
Amari Cooper’s arrival from Oakland midway through the season opened up their offence a bit more, though he’s been quieter in recent weeks and you’d wonder how Dallas’ limited offence will fare if he’s not a factor. It certainly won’t help QB Dak Prescott, who has had an up-and-down season, but is better at home than on the road.
The game will likely be decided by Dallas’ defence though. Demarcus Lawrence had 10.5 sacks on the year, rookie Leighton Vander Esch has revitalised their linebacking group, and if they can keep the Seahawks in check early, it’ll give the home offence a chance to get ahead.
I’d fancy the Seahawks here to get the better of them, and they’re available to win at 21/20, but that’s kind of a gut feeling thing, whereas the trends make a bet on over 42.5 total points appeal more. Seven of Seattle’s last eight games have gone over, while five of the Dallas’ previous seven have also beaten expectations. This isn’t a very high number either.