Houston Texans vs. Green Bay Packers Matchup Preview (10/25/20): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
On paper, this is any easy matchup to pick a favorite in. The Packers are 4-1, tied with the Bears atop the NFC North, and have looked dominant for most of the season. The Texans are 1-5, tied for last in the division with Jacksonville, and are playing out the rest of the season with an interim head coach. Take a closer look, however, and this game is much more interesting than that. Three of the Packers’ four wins are against the Vikings, Lions, and Falcons, who are sporting a combined record of 4-13. The Texans on the other hand have faced a gauntlet of a schedule, and have looked much more competitive in the two weeks following the firing of Head Coach and General Manager Bill O’Brien. For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Houston Texans vs. Green Bay Packers Matchup Page.
Date: Sunday, October 25th, 2020
Time: 12:00 PM CT
Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
TV Coverage: FOX
Texans vs. Packers Live Stream
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Houston Texans: Jordan Akins (ankle/concussion) Q, Dylan Cole (knee) Q, Keion Crossen (foot) Q, Buddy Howell (hamstring) Q, Peter Kalambayi (hamstring) Q, Senio Kelemete (knee) Q, Justin Reid (shoulder) Q, Laremy Tunsil (shoulder) Q, J.J. Watt (non-injury related) Q
Green Bay Packers: Jaire Alexander (hand/knee) Q, David Bakhtiari (chest) Q, Krys Barnes (shoulder/calf) Q, Tyler Ervin (wrist) Q, Rashan Gary (ankle) Q, Kevin King (quadricep) Q, Tyler Lancaster (shoulder) Q, Marcedes Lewis (knee) Q, Darnell Savage (quadricep) Q, Preston Smith (shoulder) Q, Za’Darius Smith (ankle) Q, Equanimeous St. Brown (knee) Q, Robert Tonyan (ankle) Q
Houston Texans Analysis
The Houston Texans’ opponents this season have a combined record of 22-12, which includes the Chiefs, Ravens, Steelers, and Titans. After starting 0-4, the Texans fired Head Coach and General Manager Bill O’Brien, with veteran coach Romeo Crennel taking over as the interim head coach. Since then, Houston took down Jacksonville in week five and were a last-second, controversial touchdown call away from defeating undefeated Tennessee and beginning a win streak of their own.
Offensively, The Texans are starting to come alive. After a shaky start, they have scored at least 30 in each of the past two games while adding nearly 100 yards of total offense on average. Deshaun Watson, who looked lost at times in the early going, has opened things up. In each of the past two games, Watson has at least 300 passing yards and three passing touchdowns. As it stands, Houston has the second-lowest rushing yards per game mark of any team in the NFL, but are now the third-highest team in terms of passing yards per game. They’re in the bottom half of the league in terms of third-down conversion percentage and red zone touchdown conversion percentage and ultimately still below average in terms of points per game.
Through six games, Houston’s defense is shaping up as one of the worst in the league. Most recently, Houston put up 36 points on 600 yards of offense in week six and lost. Their defense is giving up the second-most time of possession in the league, are in the bottom-third in terms of third-down conversion percentage and yards-per-play given up, and have yielded more red zone possessions to opposing teams than anybody else in the league. Nobody is giving up more rushing yards per game, and only 12 teams are giving up up more passing yards each week. All of these negative peripheral stats are leading to an opponents points-per-game of 30.3, which is seventh-worst in the league. If Houston wants to return to the playoffs, starting with a big win against Green Bay, the defense needs to start making plays to get off the field.
Houston Texans Depth Chart
Green Bay Packers Analysis
The Packers began the season 4-0 and went into their week-five bye atop many early power rankings lists, Matt LaFleur was being crowned a genius, and the resurrected Aaron Rodgers was going toe-to-toe with Russell Wilson for an MVP-bid. The unstoppable hype even grew as Green Bay took a 10-0 lead on Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in week six before things came to a crashing halt. A pair of consecutive interceptions by Aaron Rodgers started a cascading deflation from Green Bay, resulting in 38 unanswered points and a 38-10 embarrassing final score. They’ll look to right the ship against the Houston Texans, who are 1-5 and coming off a devastating 42-36 overtime loss to the Titans.
Prior to week six, Green Bay’s offense had looked unstoppable. Rodgers had been averaging over 300 yards and three touchdowns per game prior to his 160-yard, no-touchdown, two-interception performance against Tampa Bay. In games in which Rodgers played the entire game, he has thrown for less than 160 yards only one other time since since the 2016 season. He’s also only played in six games in which he hasn’t thrown a touchdown going back to the 2018 season. In other words, Tampa Bay played remarkably well, particularly considering Green Bay was playing from behind in this game and couldn’t even muster any garbage-time points. Green Bay, however, will welcome a return to a matchup against a beatable defense. Houston is giving up more yards and points than most teams in the league right now, and Green Bay is simply too talented to not expect a lot of points from them on Sunday.
Despite a plethora of inspiring peripheral stats on the defensive side, the Packers are still giving up 27.8 points-per-game, a below average mark. They’re average or better in each of the following categories: third-down conversion percentage, red zone touchdown conversion percentage, yards-per-play, rushing yards per game, and passing yards per game. They also have the lowest time of possession allowed to their opponents. Where is the disparity in their positive metrics and their points-per-game total? Their points-allowed totals might be skewed by some of their lopsided victories. In three of their first four games, Green Bay led Minnesota, Detroit, and Atlanta by three-plus scores heading into the fourth quarter, which led to 38 garbage-time points by these three teams. While their defense gave up 31 points to Tampa Bay this past week, one of the touchdowns came off a turnover that set up Tampa with a first-and-goal from the two. Week seven against a Texans offense that has come alive in recent weeks will be a wonderful test to see just how strong this Green Bay defense can be.
Green Bay Packers Depth Chart
Betting Corner Packers -3.5
Spread: Packers -3.5
Moneyline: Green Bay -167, Houston +138
The line opens with Green Bay as 3.5-point favorites on the road against Houston. A few weeks ago this line may have been a little more lopsided. However, Green Bay was embarrassed last week by Tampa Bay and Houston has looked much more competitive since firing Head Coach and General Manager Bill O’Brien. Along with the Detroit and Atlanta matchup, this game’s 56.5 over/under is the highest in the NFL among the week seven matchups. Green Bay has an implied point total of 29.75 to Houston’s 26.25.
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Daily Fantasy Picks
Despite how expensive he is, and the fact that he will likely be chalked, I would still be happy paying up to have Aaron Jones as my stud on Sunday. It cannot be understated how good of matchup Houston is for running backs, as they are giving up more rushing yards per game than any other team in the NFL. Derrick Henry just went for 212 and two on 22 carries this past Sunday. Prior to that, Dalvin Cook had 130 and two in week four, James Conner had 109 and one in week three, Baltimore’s three-headed monster at running back combined for nearly 200 yards and one in week two, and Edwards-Helaire had 138 and one in week one.
If you pay up elsewhere for your studs, consider Jamaal Williams as a contrarian play at low cost. While Aaron Jones is going to cost you north of $7000, and will be on a high percentage of rosters, Jamaal Williams is currently sitting at just $4000 on Draft Kings and will likely not find himself on a very high percentage of rosters. He’s incredibly risky, as he’s averaging just over nine touches per game, a number you normally are not able to depend on for fantasy production from the running back position. Considering how bad Houston is blocking the run, however, you’d be playing Williams in the hopes that he catches the hot hand and vultures a touchdown or two away from Jones and Rodgers, leaving you on the positive end of an unexpected result.
This suggestion is contingent upon another missed game from Jordan Akins, who has been out the last two weeks due to both a high ankle sprain and a concussion suffered in week four against Minnesota. During those two absences, Darren Fells has caught eight passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns, one in each week. While Houston has no qualms against a pass-heavy offensive attack regardless, they’re unlikely to slow down the potent Green Bay offense and will once again be relying on Watson to play catch-up. Considering how well Jaire Alexander is playing in coverage against wide receivers, Darren Fells could be in line for another healthy dose of targets for the second week in a row. He’s at least $2000 cheaper than a few of the top options.
What do Kirk Cousins in week one, Matt Stafford in week two, and Drew Brees in week three have in common? They all had solid fantasy games trying to keep up with the Green Bay offense. Meanwhile, much like the defenses of the Vikings, Lions, and Saints, Houston is unlikely to slow down the potent Green Bay offense. Expect a lot of pass attempts from Deshaun Watson once again, who is averaging over 33 per game. In a game with a 56.5 over/under, and a 26.25 implied point total from Deshaun Watson, expect another good fantasy performance from the Houston quarterback who has been heating up over the past few weeks.