Editor’s note: NESN.com’s Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian deliver their NFL picks every Thursday of the season, and here’s who they like in the Houston Texans-Oakland Raiders Week 11 game, with the line from OddsShark.
Houston Texans (6-3) vs. (-5.5) Oakland Raiders (7-2), 8:30 p.m. ET in Mexico City
Mike: Texans. If this game was played in the Black Hole, I’d be on Oakland. But it’s being played in the literal opposite of a hole, as the elevation in Mexico City is more than 7,000 feet. Both teams will have to adjust, which could be enough to help Houston keep it close.
Andre: Raiders. The Texans might be the most undeserving first-place team in the NFL. They have a minus-5 turnover differential (T-26th) and they’re going up against the Raiders, who make a living forcing turnovers (plus-9 turnover differential, third). The Texans’ pass rush also is not the same without J.J. Watt (6.1 percent sack percentage, 15th this season compared to 7.5 percent sack percentage, third in 2015). The Raiders’ offensive line also is extremely good at protecting Derek Carr, who’s been sacked just 11 times (fewest in NFL).
Ricky: Raiders. The Texans always seem to stumble against good competition. Case in point: They were outscored 85-24 in their three losses to the New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos. Houston’s sputtering offense will have a hard time keeping up with Derek Carr and Co.
Thumbnail photo via Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports Images