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Play action or Pass week 16: Motivate me

The Texans are playing for Bill O'Brien's job. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Motivation is a stat that fails to show up in the box score or in the spread, but unquestionably you see it with the on-field performances in the closing weeks of the regular season.

Week 16 brings us various spots that we look to take advantage of using motivation as an angle we can capitalize on.

We currently sit at:

AFC

1. Patriots 11-3

2. Steelers 11-3

3. Jaguars 10-4

4. Chiefs 8-6

5. Titans 8-6

6. Bills 8-6

Trailing behind them and still in contention.

Ravens 8-6

Chargers 7-7

Raiders 6-8

Dolphins 6-8

NFC

1. Eagles 12-2

2. Vikings 11-3

3. Rams 10-4

4. Saints 10-4

5. Panthers 10-4

6. Falcons 9-5

Trailing behind them and still in contention

Lions 8-6

Seahawks 8-6

Cowboys 8-6

Playoff Seeding Motivation

Eagles-9

Philadelphia has clinched the NFC East and a first-round bye. The Eagles will clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win over the Raiders, or a tie combined with a Vikings loss/tie, or a Vikings loss. How much motivation will Oakland have after the tragedy of last Sunday night? After being on the wrong side of the most bizarre first down measurement "paper gate," Derek Carr fumbled Oakland's playoff chances out of the end zone for a touchback. Although they aren't mathematically eliminated, the Raiders would need to win out and have multiple scenarios to play out in order to punch a ticket into the postseason. Cross-country travel, on a short week vs. a non-conference opponent, where will the fight for the Raiders come from? Offensive tackle Donald Penn held a streak of 174 straight games played, but this Christmas, he will be at home. To lose your left tackle, Derek Carr's blindside, while traveling into a hostile environment, to play against a defense that underachieved the prior week isn't the ideal situation. Yes, these are professionals, but at the same time they are human, and with the dream being basically crushed by Carr's fumble, how can we expect the Raiders to get up for this game. How can Oakland salvage some kind of motivation going into the off-season? A trip to L.A in week 17 vs. the Chargers with the chance to play spoiler could be the remedy. Look for the Raiders to sleepwalk through this game with the season finale serving as some type of redemption game.

Job security motivation

Texans +10

"We have a great relationship; Coach OB is fun to play for. He's very tough on you. He wants you to be successful. I would love to have coach OB back, and I'm ready to have him with me for my whole career." These were the words of new found leader Deshaun Watson, amidst of all the talk of Bill O'Brien's future with the team. When Watson, the future of the team, comments about who he would like to play for and shows that he is in Bill O'Brien's corner, it has to bring a sense of motivation from a coaching standpoint as well as a perception of optimism in the locker-room. When asked about his quarterbacks support, the QB whisperer O'Brien said “I appreciate all the support that anybody — I think that’s just the way I think any of us are. People support you, it’s a nice thing. But we’ve got to focus on Pittsburgh, and that’s what we’re trying to do.” The Steelers are coming off a wild finish in a matchup they had circled all year. By now, we all know about the Jesse James catch being overturned, and the catastrophic mistake Ben Roethlisberger made, so where is the mental state of the Steelers locker room? They are still playing for a first-round bye week, and they lead Jacksonville by a game, but the Jaguars face off a day earlier vs. the 49ers. Will the outcome of that game factor into this final score? Tomlin has been very inconsistent as a double-digit road favorite losing outright on five occasions in his tenure. In road games the Steelers have been favored in this year they are 2-4 ATS. Take Houston to keep it close enough to leave the back door open.

Winning Mentality Motivation

49ers +4

Since handing the keys to Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers have played like an inspired team. San Francisco is 3-0 straight up and 2-0-1 ATS with Garoppolo at quarterback. San Fransisco averages 5.9 yards per play on offense with Garoppolo, surpassing the league average of 5.4. The stat that jumps out is the improvement on defense. When you think of the Jaguars, you automatically think defense. The Jags hold opponents to 4.9 yards per play. During the last three weeks, the 49ers have held opponents to the exact same number. Since changing quarterbacks, the 49ers have improved on both sides of the ball giving merit to our theory of motivation in the locker room. This team is playing like a 3-0 squad, not one that resembles the 4-10 record they hold in 2017.

Action

Seahawks +3

Seahawks/Cowboys over 47

Browns+7

Rams/Titans under 49

Teaser 7- point

Chargers+.5/Vikings-2

10-point teaser

Chiefs PK/ Eagles+1/Patriots -1.5

Eagles+1/Seahawks-Cowboys over 37/Chiefs PK

Play action or Pass went 8-1 in week 15 bringing our yearly record to 41-28-1. 59.4%

Most Bet teams

Browns 74%

Panthers 73%

Chiefs 70%

Giants 70%

Eagles 67%

For any questions or comments reach me at @JerryBoKnowz

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The Texans didn't have an answer for Derrick Henry. Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Romeo Crennel made a valorous call that might have costed the Houston Texans from winning their second consecutive game on Sunday. Up by seven with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter, Crennel decided to call a two-point conversion following Deshaun Watson's one-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

During the two-point conversion, Watson had a look at an open Randall Cobb, but Titans' defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons got a hand on the ball to deflect the pass. The failed conversion allowed the Titans to take a 42-36 victory over the Texans inside Nissan Stadium. Tennessee scored 13 unanswered points, which included a seven-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to A.J. Brown to send the game into overtime.

"I think I would do it again," Crennel said during his media availability on Monday. "You are on the road against a divisional opponent who is undefeated, and if you could get that two-point conversion — you shut the door on them. We had a guy open, but unfortunately, the ball got tipped and we did not make it. I would do it again because it was a good choice."

The decision to not kick the field goal caused somewhat of an uproar, but it is understandable why Crennel made the call. Crennel had faith in Watson to put the Texans in a position to close the game, similar to his 4th-and-4 call during last week's victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In the end, Crennel's risky decisions could stem from the lack of faith he has in the Texans' depleted defense.

Houston's defense hit an all-time low against the Titans. They gave up a franchise-worst 601 total yards — with Derrick Henry accounting for 212 yards on 22 carries. But despite their struggles against the run, the Texans' secondary were just as faulty. They gave up a total of 338 yards through the air and allowed Tannehill to go 8-for-9 down the field during the Titans' final drive of regulation.

Had Houston's defense made a stop during the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, the Texans could have ended the game 2-0 under their interim head coach.

"I wanted to go ahead and get the two points — I felt like that would have put the game out of reach for them," Crennel said. "If we had gotten it, we would have been in much better shape. But we did not get it. We did not perform well in overtime, and they [Titans] won the game."

Following Sunday's heartbreaking loss, Texans safety Justin Reid said it best, "Had we converted on the two-point conversion, this would be a totally different conversation. So it is what it is."

Up next, the 1-5 Texans will look to bounce back from defeat against the 4-1 Green Bay Packers, inside NRG Stadium on Sunday. Kick-off is at 12:00 PM CT.

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