NFL Weekly Picks: New York Jets at Houston Texans

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Spread: NYJ -3
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The Houston Texans have won three of its past four to get back in the AFC South race. This week the Texans will host the New York Jets as 3-point underdogs in the game which will air at NOON CT on CBS.

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The Texans have re-installed Brian Hoyer at QB and the results have been good. Houston defeated Indianapolis 10-6 on the road after taking down a then-undefeated Bengals squad. Hoyer sustained a concussion in the game in the third quarter and T.J. Yates checked in to throw DeAndre Hopkins a 22-yard TD pass early in the fourth quarter.

Yates was a rookie in the 2011 wild card round and saw time that season with Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart both out. Hoyer is ruled out for this game so Yates will start again.

“It’s a little nostalgic,” Yates said, “I have a lot of good memories in Cincinnati.” He is starting his first game since the 2011 playoffs, and Brandon Weeden was signed to be his backup. Yates is the third starting QB for the Texans, and Bill O’Brien is familiar with these types of struggles after doing the same in 2014.

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Ryan Fitzpatrick will lead the 5-4 Jets who are in the playoff hunt this season. He went just 15 of 34 for 193 yards with two picks in the 22-17 loss to Buffalo Nov. 12. Fitzpatrick suffered a torn ligament in his left thumb but underwent surgery and is expected to start.

The Jets and Bills are both tied for the AFC’s final wild card spot, with a number of teams competing for that spot. The Jets rank No. 4 in total defense and allow a league-low 88.1 rushing yards per game. New York allowed 121.3 and 4.7 per attempt in its past three games, and it gave up a season-high 148 to the Buffalo Bills.

Houston gave up 503 yards in the Week 7 ‘L’ to Miami, but it has allowed just four field goals and 467 yards in the wins over Cincy and Tennessee. The Texans have amassed 11 sacks in those two wins, and OLB Whitney Mercilus (perhaps autocorrect to “Merciless” was appropriate) has 4.5 while J.J. Watt has 3.5.

“We know how to play— smart, fast, aggressive football,” Mercilus said.

The teams are meeting for the first time since 2012 when the Jets lost 23-17 at home. The Jets are 2-0 at NRG Stadium and won 24-7 in its 2009 opener.

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