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Real World
by Dennis Ranahan

The defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles are still in the playoff hunt.

That is, if you’re a person that spends more time on your computer studying possibilities than living in the real world where what is suppose to happen … happens. The Eagles are not going to defend their title this season, not even going to make it to the playoffs. In most seasons, a team with a 7-7 win/loss record with two games to go would already be eliminated, but because the Dallas Cowboys lost last week, the Eagles get to limp into this week, clipboard in hand, that shows they still have a mathematical chance of not only earning a Wild Card berth but winning the NFC East.

Some will say, Philadelphia is in that perfect role of trying to earn a postseason berth and playing spoiler at the same time. Evidence some will present to support that case is last week’s road win over the Los Angeles Rams.

Isn’t that a sign the Eagles have life if they were able to further cripple the Rams chances at earning the top seed in the National Football Conference? After all, the Rams already have clinched the NFC West and still have eyes on overtaking the New Orleans Saints for home field in the playoffs.

In fact, the Eagles didn’t beat the Rams last Sunday night, they were just on the field when the Rams lost. Los Angeles fell into that horrible trap of losing a game and then being overconfident of a win in their next contest. The Rams had lost to the Bears, 15-6, two weeks ago and were favored over the Eagles by a double-digit expanding number. The Rams had opened as a 9½ point favorite, but were the public’s second favorite play of the week and the closing number had Los Angeles favored over the Eagles by 13½ points.

Now, after they were on the field when the Rams lost, the Eagles go from a two touchdown underdog to a home favorite on the point spread. The Eagles are now favored over a Houston Texans team that has won 10 of their last 11 games.

The Texans have been winning because this is their year.

They have a defense that has stars throughout and are now playing as a cohesive unit while motivated from last season’s dismal 4-12 season that fell apart once rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson was injured mid-season. Last year, was not the Texans season, and after three losses to start this campaign, 2018 didn’t look like their season either.

But, nine straight wins, victories on the road and at home, as a favorite and underdog, in good and bad motivational spots, the Texans won nine straight games. Then, following a narrow home loss two weeks ago to the Indianapolis Colts, came back to overcome a very tough motivational spot last Saturday when they both beat the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium, 29-22, and pushed on a bloated seven point spread.

What we have in Philadelphia on Sunday, is a Texans team that is having their season against an Eagles squad that had their breakthrough success last year. Buoyed by the Rams loss last week, the Eagles are suddenly looked at as a potential contender, which they are not, to anyone living in the real world.

The underdog in this game actually has a very good chance, better than most realize, at taking the Vince Lombardi Trophy away from Philadelphia this season and landing it in Houston for the first time ever. With that as a real possibility, know this, the Texans as an underdog to the Eagles this week has nothing to do with the real world.

Wrong team favored, the public makes them so, and the path to the payoff window starts with a bet on the winning underdog in this one.

Qoxhi Picks: Houston Texans (+2) over Philadelphia Eagles