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New York Jets vs. Houston Texans Odds & Game Pick (2021)

by November 26, 2021
brandin cooks

In a weekend filled with a handful of exciting NFL matchups, I highly doubt many outside of the New York and Houston areas will be paying much attention to the Toilet Bowl between the 2-8 New York Jets and the 2-8 Houston Texans. But for bettors, any game is an opportunity, and this one isn’t an exception.

The Texans are riding high after upsetting the Tennessee Titans on the road, while the Jets continue to be a punch line leaguewide after losing last week with Joe Flacco at the helm. Can Zach Wilson’s return give the Jets some life? Or will Tyrod Taylor and the Texans get on an improbable winning streak? Let’s break it down.

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  • Opening line: Houston -3
  • Current line: Houston -2.5
  • Total: 44

Can Zach Wilson’s return jumpstart the Jets’ offense? 

It’s been a quarterback carousel for the Jets over the last month after Zach Wilson suffered a knee injury in a loss to the Patriots. Since Wilson’s injury, no-namer Mike White, journeyman Josh Johnson and Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco have all started games for Gang Green.

But with Wilson back at the helm, the Jets hope to see flashes of a franchise quarterback. At this point, that’s what the rest of the 2021 season is about. The problem is Wilson was one of the league’s worst quarterbacks before his departure, having thrown nine interceptions in his first six games.

Wilson also doesn’t have a ton of help. New York’s offensive line ranks 28th in adjusted line yards and has surrendered 25 sacks on the season. Exciting running back Michael Carter won’t be available, as he’s been sidelined by an ankle injury. Rookie receiver Elijah Moore has played well over the last few weeks, but the connection between him and Wilson is unknown at this point.

New York’s offense had success with White under center when all he was asked to do was take what the defense gave him and throw the ball short. Wilson has a much more talented arm than White, but he needs to rein in his aggressiveness occasionally to avoid turnovers and adverse down and distance situations. Hopefully, Wilson’s time on the sideline taught him that.

Defensively, New York is a disaster. The Jets now rank dead last in defensive DVOA. They’re 32nd against the pass and 31st against the run. New York has some pieces in the front seven, but the entire secondary requires a makeover.

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Houston hopes to make it two in a row

The most shocking result of Week 11 was Houston’s upset win over the Titans on a rain-soaked day. The Texans didn’t do much to win the game other than avoiding mistakes. Tennessee turned the ball over five times and couldn’t climb out of a 22-0 hole.

Don’t be mistaken by this win, however. The Texans are still a pretty miserable team. Houston ranks 30th in overall DVOA and is dead last in offensive DVOA. However, the Texans have played some pretty good defense as of late, ranking 17th in DVOA.

The return of Tyrod Taylor has helped establish more credibility for this offense, as Davis Mills was an unmitigated disaster. Taylor’s dual-threat abilities came in handy last week, as he rushed six times for 28 yards and two touchdowns. However, this offense is still as unimpressive as it gets.

Defensively, the Texans prefer to sit back in coverage and prevent big plays. That’s why they rank 14th in pass defense DVOA but 27th against the run. Houston’s two-safety high scheme will test Wilson’s patience, as he’ll have to resemble White’s dink and dunk style and manufacture long drives. The question will be whether New York can find its running game without Carter.

Bottom Line 

I’ll be honest. With so many better matchups available, I wouldn’t recommend putting much, if anything, on this game. But I know you didn’t read all this way to be told to pass.

Frankly, I think this comes down to which quarterback you’d rather back. For me, that’s Taylor. While Wilson might have the higher upside, I’m skeptical of how he’ll perform coming off an injury against a Texans defense that could bait him into some mistakes. Plus, New York’s secondary is so bad that Brandin Cooks could win this game on his own.

Again, not a game I love. But I’ll roll with the home side.

Pick: Texans -2.5 or better

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Matt Barbato is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Matt, check out his archive and follow him @RealMattBarbato.

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