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The Eagles aim to maintain their perfect record
  1. NFL

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles @ Houston Texans preview

While Philadelphia and Houston's baseball teams dispute the World Series, the NFL schedule has thrown up a potential Week 9 mismatch between the Eagles and Texans on Thursday night.

The Eagles retain the league's only perfect record and appear to be in good shape physically to stay out in front of their NFC rivals.

But the Texans are on a two-game losing streak after bowing to rushing king Derrick Henry in a 17-10 loss to the Tenessee Titans last Sunday.

How they will try to deal with the dual-threat capability of Philadelphia's MVP candidate quarterback Jalen Hurts is anyone's guess, but stop him they must if they are to have a chance of earning just a second win of the season.

WhatPhiladelphia Eagles @ Houston Texans
WhereNRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
When20:15 ET, Thursday November 3rd 2022
How to watchAmazon Prime Video
OddsPHI Eagles -800, HOU Texans +550

Texans cannot stop the run

Houston's Astros may have finished with the best record in the American League, but the Texans are on course to be the AFC's worst team in 2022.

Lovie Smith's men opened the regular season with a tie against the Indianapolis Colts and pulled off a shock win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 5, but have flopped badly since returning from their bye.

Josh Jacobs pummelled them into submission with 143 ground yards and three scores in a 38-20 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, before the Titans copied Silver and Black's playbook by handing off to Henry 32 times last week.

The two-time NFL rushing champion responded by aggregating 219 yards and two TDs just to emphasize how incapable the Texans' defense are at stopping the run.

Houston, who are ranked in the bottom four in rushing yards allowed per game, rushing touchdowns allowed and rushing first downs allowed, now go up against one of the best scrambling quarterbacks around and another elite rush attack.

The Eagles are ranked in the top six in rush yards per game, rushing touchdowns and rushing first downs. It has been a balanced approach so far from Nick Sirriani's men, who have passed on 49% of their offensive plays this season.

Hurts has weapons to push Eagles higher

That was up to almost 63% last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers when Hurts torched the AFC North team for 285 yards and four touchdowns, before being pulled out with nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Houston-born QB has a wide array of offensive weapons at his disposal, including big offseason signing A.J. Brown, who caught three first-half touchdown passes to propel the Eagles to a 35-13 win and a 7-0 record.

The former Titans star's career-high 156-yard performance in Western Pennsylvania puts him on pace for 1,600 receiving yards, which would obliterate a franchise record that has stood since 1983.

Tight end Dallas Goedert is one of Hurts' most reliable playmakers, with 32 catches for 421 yards, although he has strangely only one TD to his name this year.

Running back Miles Sanders, tied for seventh in the NFL with 563 yards rushing, has done all that has been asked of him, although the Eagles' front office were reportedly looking into adding to that position group before the trade deadline.

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Philly can stack the box against Houston

While they did not add there, they did pull off a useful trade for three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Robert Quinn to bolster their already-dominant defense.

It is a unit that ranks fourth overall and against the pass, but has a relative weakness against the run - ranking only 15th in the league.

But they catch a break here because of the Texans' injury situation, which could deny them the use of their top two wide receivers.

Nico Collins is definitely out and Brandin Cooks was listed as questionable on the injury report in the week where he was disappointed not to be traded elsewhere.

A lack of playmakers running into their secondary would allow the Eagles to stack the box with defenders in order to slow down rookie rusher Dameon Pierce, who has impressed with his tenacity and ability to break tackles.

Points spread looks big, but Eagles are soaring

As two-touchdown favourites, the Eagles really shouldn't slip up here and the fact that they are bidding to remain perfect in what is a homecoming game for Hurts suggests there will be no surprise result.

Philadelphia are 5-2 against the spread in 2022 and lead the overall series with the Texans 5-0.

And until Houston can demonstrate an ability to stop the run and get off the field on defense, backing their opponents - even to cover a daunting -13.5 point Spread at -110 is surely the way to go.

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