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Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens Point Spread - Pick

Houston Texans (4-6 SU, 6-4 ATS) vs. Baltimore Ravens (5-5 SU, 5-4-1 ATS)
Week 12 NFL
Date/Time: Monday Night Football, November 27, 2017 at 8:30PM EST
Where: MT&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland
TV: ESPN

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: HOU +7/BAL -7
Over/Under Total: 38

The Houston Texans come to MT&T Bank Stadium to take on the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football. It might not be the glitziest of MNF games, but it's still a game of some consequence between two teams that have seen a lot of tough times this season for various reasons, but still two prideful squads that were able to win big on Sunday. The Texans surged late to beat the Arizona Cardinals, 31-21, for their first win since losing Deshaun Watson to injury. The Ravens, meanwhile, pushed their record to the .500 mark with a road shutout win over the Green Bay Packers, 23-0. The Ravens have certainly had their issues this season, but are stubbornly hanging in there. A win over the Packers now doesn't mean what it did earlier in the season, but to shut out the Packers at Lambeau is still impressive in its own way.

The Ravens have had a wild ride through ten games. A 2-0 start pumped a lot of optimism into their fanbase, only to see it come crashing down after two straight lopsided losses. They beat Oakland on the road, then lost two straight. A 40-0 win over the Dolphins followed, before they lost to the Titans a few weeks ago. But after the bye-week, they came out ready to go on Sunday. They capitalized on some Green Bay mistakes, namely five turnovers. While the offense didn't need to be great, they got it done with 23 points.

The Ravens' offense has been a weird bunch this season and at the end of the day, not very good. With 9 touchdowns and 11 picks, Joe Flacco isn't putting together a great season. He was 22-for-28 on Sunday with 183 yards and a TD and a pick apiece. His season-high in yardage is 261 yards and he has been fairly pedestrian by his standards, as the Ravens are the last-ranked aerial offense in the league. He connected with Mike Wallace for a TD pass on Sunday, while Danny Woodhead came off IR and caught five passes. He could be an X-factor for this offense and they are in the need of playmakers if he can somehow stay healthy. Alex Collins and Javorius Allen have had their moments coming out of the backfield.

The Baltimore defense might be the saving grace of the Ravens if they can show more consistency in the last six games of the season. With Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr, Eric Weddle, and Tony Jefferson, they have one of the very best pass-defenses in the league. On Sunday, Weddle, Smith, and rookie corner Marlon Humphrey each had interceptions. Terrell Suggs, Matthew Judon, and Willie Henry all had two sacks apiece. They have 23 turnovers on the season already and at their best, they can be one of the more-stout and playmaking defenses in the league. Sunday's 23-0 win over Green Bay was their third shutout win of the season!

Down 21-17 in the fourth quarter, Houston was already on the heels of three straight losses and things were looking bleak. They then rallied on both sides of the ball, with a suddenly stout and playmaking defense setting up the comeback win, with the offense putting up 14 fourth-quarter points to salvage the win and give a Houston team that hasn't had much to celebrate some cause to be hopeful. Injuries have taken a toll of this bunch and it looks like they will at least be stalwart if not overly-successful.

Houston was down late with D'Onta Foreman going for a three-yard TD run, before breaking off a passionate 34-yard touchdown run to get the late separation. But as is Houston's wont this season, good news is usually followed by a catastrophe and it was later found out that Foreman suffered a torn Achilles and will miss the remainder of the season. It was still nice to see QB Tom Savage finally get a win and perform decently. He was a competent 22-for-30 with 230 yards, along with a TD throw and a pick. The touchdown was a deft connection with Houston's number-one playmaker DeAndre Hopkins. Also productive on the day was Lamar Miller, who ran for 61 yards and caught four passes including a TD reception, along with receiver Bruce Ellington, who hauled in six catches. Obviously, it's a far cry from what they were with Watson behind center and with the defense heavily-compromised by personnel issues, they need to be really good to get Houston on a run. But Sunday was a positive development.

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The Houston defense has lost a lot of its steam this season. A bulk of their menace is shelved and they are patching things together in different areas. They have become more-vulnerable aerially, partially because of the loss of their heavy-hitters up-front. Safeties Andre Hal and Eddie Pleasant each recorded picks on Sunday, which were a big help. They got a huge game from Jadeveon Clowney, who had two sacks and was very active. More of the same for their best remaining playmaker on this side of the ball would go a long way. And the way they clamped down late in the game and put an end to whatever success Arizona was having was impressive.

I expect a hard-fought and evenly-contested football game on Monday. Houston hasn't won on the road since a week two win over a half-dead Cincinnati bunch. And having not played at home since October 26, the Ravens should be eager to give the fans something to cheer and getting to 6-5 would be a big deal with all they've been through and it is a winnable spot. Houston, however, showed a lot of gumption last week, albeit against a Cardinals' team that is hanging on for dear life. I see a tough game where having the points might come in handy.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Houston Texans plus 7 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the MNF game from the comfort of home by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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