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Houston is skidding at the wrong time. The Texans have lost two of their last three and home-field advantage in the postseason hangs by a string versus Indianapolis. If Houston losses, it could fall as far back as third in the AFC and lose that home edge. Running back Arian Foster is expected to play after leaving with an irregular heartbeat last week. The Colts have clinched the fifth seed in the AFC and will welcome head coach Chuck Pagano back to the sidelines after his battle with leukemia. The home team has covered in each of the past five meetings between these AFC South rivals.
Line moves: Opened Skins minus-5, currently Skins minus-3.
Books says: "Look at these two teams and it is hard to argue with the move. This Redskins team has made a lot of bettors a lot of money since Mike Shanahan called them out earlier in the season. That is not lost on the bookmakers [and] you have to inflate the numbers a little bit. I think this will close three flat. The underdog in this series has dominated the past 29 games, going 26-3, and you saw this earlier on Thanksgiving when Washington went into Dallas as a dog and won outright. Getting the hook in a game with playoff-type intensity is a huge edge. So wise guys who have that will be happy come kickoff."
Spread: Patriots minus-10
Public consensus pick: 59 percent picked Patriots
Public perception: The Patriots must win to have a chance at a first-round bye (coupled with a loss by either Houston or Denver). The Dolphins are still not seeing much public support.
Wiseguys' view: The wiseguys know the Patriots have failed to cover three of their last four games, while the Dolphins have covered four of their last five.
Tuley's Take: Included in both teams' ATS runs is the Dolphins' 23-16 cover four weeks ago. Even if the Dolphins don't stay close the entire game, the back door could be wide open if the Patriots begin resting starters should the Texans win and the Broncos pull away early from the Chiefs. The pick: Dolphins.
Pagano had a long talk with Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star: "The 'why' got clearer and clearer as I went through it. I have a higher purpose now. How many can we help; that's the bottom line. Along with everything else we've got to do as a husband, a father and a coach, I feel now like I've been blessed with a platform. Now part of my responsibility is to give back to people who are going through this. The biggest thing is, 'OK, He's blessed me with this (remission), now how can I be a blessing to somebody else? How many can we help?"
Pondering the ovation Pagano’s going to get at Lucas Oil Stadium this afternoon with Mike Chappell of the Star.
This will likely be the final game of Andy Reid’s 14-year tenure in Philadelphia. His team has outgained New York this season, 356 to 353 total YPG, which is pretty remarkable considering the Eagles have a minus-23 turnover margin and the Giants are at +13.