The NFC-favored Seattle Seahawks head to Houston as 3-point favorites over the Texans and, if Houston's star receiver Andre Johnson can't stay healthy, the result could be much worse.
Johnson recovered from a concussion suffered against the Tennessee Titans to play in last Sunday's 30-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, but was forced out of that game with a shin bruise in the first half. Johnson is listed as day-to-day as the Texans prepare for the unbeaten Seahawks.
[ Full Seattle vs Houston matchup report, trends, live odds and handicapping stats ]
Johnson is crucial for the Texans, who were favored in Baltimore, but ended up being their own worst enemy as they set a franchise record for penalties (14 for 113) and allowed two non-offense touchdowns in the first half, presumably handing the defending Super Bowl champs the momentum early.
The point spread has edged up to -3 from its open of -2 Monday at 5Dimes. The total has hovered around 41.5.
Last week, Ravens linebacker Daryl Smith intercepted Matt Schaub and took it to the house 37 yards for a touchdown to give the Ravens a 10-6 lead. Then, less than two minutes later, Baltimore's Tandon Doss diced through Houston's special teams for an 82-yard punt return touchdown.
It doesn't get any easier this week, despite being played at Reliant Stadium. The Seahawks roll in with arguably the most dominating defense in the league and a pretty good offense that includes quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch.
Wilson was 14-of-21 through the air for 202 yards with four touchdown passes and an interception in Seattle's 45-17 win last week over the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. The Seahawks are a dominant 16-4 against the spread in their last 20 games overall and have covered four straight road games.
The Seahawks passing game, albeit against the Jaguars' lethargic defense, finally found the consistency coach Pete Carroll was looking for, as Wilson was efficient while in the game for 2-1/2 quarters. For the game, Seattle quarterbacks completed passes to eight different receivers, including nine passes caught by tight ends Zach Miller, Luke Willson, and Kellen Davis.
Seattle checks in on ATS win streaks of 5-1 in September, 13-3 against winning teams, and 5-0 while ordering room service.
Houston, on the other hand, has covered 10 of its last 11 Week 4 games, but has now failed to cover in four straight dating back to last season.
The computer has predicted a 39-17 blowout for the Seahawks.