I would say Andrew Luck will play in the game, so we will prepare for him. —Texans coach Bill O'Brien
Other than a losing week, nothing bugs Pro Picks more than having no spread on a Thursday night game.
That's the case this time around as the Colts figure out how healthy Andrew Luck's right (throwing) shoulder is.
The star quarterback missed a game for the first time in his three-plus pro seasons and Indianapolis (No. 17 in AP Pro32) was taken to the limit and beyond before beating Jacksonville in overtime.
Matt Hasselbeck, Luck's 40-year-old backup, played reasonably well and Indy extended its string of wins within the AFC South to a record-tying 15 games.
"I'm going to approach this week the same way I approached last week and every other week," said Hasselbeck, who was ill and absent from practice Tuesday, further clouding the picture. "I expect him to play, but I'll be ready if needed."
Houston (No. 28 in AP Pro32) has been among the most disappointing teams in the NFL, but it has two-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt operating against a mediocre offensive line.
"I would say Andrew Luck will play in the game, so we will prepare for him," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said.
Whether he plays or not, the Texans will end Indy's impressive streak.
KNOCKOUT LEAGUE TIP:
SAN DIEGO made it too tight for comfort last week, but survived. Lots of potential choices this week (New England, Atlanta, Green Bay, Kansas City). Our suggestion: NEW YORK GIANTS.
No. 1 New England (minus 7 1-2) at No. 15 Dallas
The Cowboys might be too banged up to handle Boston College, let alone the Patriots.
BEST BET: PATRIOTS, 33-17
No. 30 Jacksonville (plus 3) at No. 32 Tampa Bay
Skirmish in the Sunshine State? More like a finger fight, but we think Jaguars are better team.
UPSET SPECIAL: JAGUARS, 17-16
No. 8 Seattle (plus 1 1-2) at No. 5 Cincinnati
Just don't like what we're seeing from the Seahawks.
No. 10 St. Louis (plus 9) at No. 2 Green Bay
Packers remain unbeaten, but Aaron Rodgers goes down a few times.
No. 21 Washington (plus 7 1-2) at No. 4 Atlanta
Falcons remain unbeaten, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones have another big day.
No. 3 Denver (minus 5 1-2) at No. 19 Oakland
Broncos remain unbeaten despite spotty offense thanks to big-play defense.
No. 7 Arizona (minus 3) at No. 27 Detroit
Lions in danger of imploding, Cardinals have protection issues.
No. 25 Cleveland (plus 6 1-2) at No. 18 Baltimore
Browns will do as always, make it close and lose in the end.
No. 31 San Francisco (plus 7) at No. 12 New York Giants
Revitalized Giants against reeling 49ers.
No. 11 Pittsburgh (plus 3) at No. 16 San Diego, Monday night
With Big Ben, an ideal Upset Special. With Mike Vick ...
No. 26 Chicago (plus 9) at No. 20 Kansas City
Bears found way to win, Chiefs really are struggling. Still ...
No. 14 Buffalo (minus 3) at No. 23 Tennessee
Bills are on every-other-week ride. This week is a good one.
No. 24 New Orleans (plus 5 1-2) at No. 22 Philadelphia
A pair of disappointing and struggling teams. At some point, we need to jump off the Philly bandwagon.
2015 RECORD: Against spread: Week 7-7, Season (33-27-1). Straight up: Week 10-5, Season (41-22)
Best Bet: 2-2 against spread, 3-1 straight up.
Upset special: 1-3 against spread, 1-3 straight up.