Los Angeles Chargers vs. Houston Texans Prediction, Preview, Picks & Odds - 12/26/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Friday, Dec 24, 2021
Game time: 1 p.m. ET
Venue: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Where to watch: CBS

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Chargers -10
BetMGM: Chargers -10.5
Caesars: Chargers -10

Season record
Chargers: 8-6 (2nd place, AFC West)
Texans: 3-11 (3rd place, AFC West)

Matt Fargo is on a perfect 5-0 run, and best believe that he’ll look to continue that with a big Week 16. Catch Matt’s plays available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.

Chargers - Texans preview and analysis

Last week
Chargers: lost 34-28 (OT) vs. Chiefs (Thursday)
Texans: won 30-16 at Jaguars

The Los Angeles Chargers missed a golden opportunity against the Kansas City Chiefs. Suddenly, their AFC West hopes are dying quickly and they're in the cluster of teams trying to get in the playoffs.

The Chargers will try to keep their playoff hopes going when they visit the three-win Houston Texans on Sunday in NRG Stadium.

Had the Chargers won, they would've held the season tiebreaker over the Chiefs after winning the first matchup in Kansas City back in Week 3. But thanks to the Chiefs deciding to take over the football world again and have won seven straight, it's put the Chargers in a bind.

Justin Herbert threw for 236 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the second player ever to throw for 4,000 yards in his first two NFL seasons. Not often you want to be in the same conversation as Jameis Winston, but Winston never made the playoffs in his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"The goal is always to score. We needed to put up points, and we got in the end zone, and that was our mission," Herbert said. "We would have loved to have been able to run the clock down and not have any time, but this is the NFL, and you have to get in the end zone."

Herbert has five straight games of at least two touchdown passes and is only one of three quarterbacks this season to hit 4,000 yards; his 8,394 yards through two seasons is the most ever in NFL history.

But the Chargers, in the grand scheme of it all, really missed a chance. It doesn't seem like it's over, especially now with the Chiefs' latest run of COVID problems (including Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce), but the odds do not look great.

"I really liked the way we managed the entire game tonight. It didn't go down for us today, but we gave ourselves an opportunity. We just didn't finish the game off defensively," Chargers coach Brandon Staley said.

Playing the Texans will help a great deal. Houston is coming off a 30-16 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, which of course doesn't say a lot, but the Texans will take anything at this point.

Davis Mills threw for 209 yards and two touchdowns, and Brandin Cooks continued his Superman-type season with seven receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Cooks, the only bright spot to Houston's season, is 55 yards away from a 1,000-yard season.

But the Texans are still averaging less than 15 points per game. Even against a Chargers defense that's pushing 27 allowed a game, the Texans are still who we think they are: flat-out bad.


This has the makings of a trap game, but it shouldn't be an issue for the Chargers with the cover. They're double-digit favorites against a Houston team that has yet to string a consistent set of weeks to this point. I like L.A. to get back on track. Chargers by 17

Betting trends

The Chargers are 0-6 ATS off three or more consecutive overs.

The Chargers are 1-7 ATS off a loss by 7 or less to a division opponent.

The Texans are 7-7 ATS in their last 14 as a home dog.

The Texans are 5-16 ATS in their last 21 after playing their previous game on the road.

Players to watch

Chargers: Running back Austin Ekeler had 82 yards from scrimmage and a rushing touchdown last week. He has six straight games with a touchdown.

Texans: Tight end Brevin Jordan has a receiving touchdown in two of his last three games.

Statistical leaders

Passing: Justin Herbert – 4,058 yards, 32 TD, 12 INT
Rushing: Austin Ekeler – 789 yards, 10 TD
Receiving: Keenan Allen – 1,007 yards, 5 TD
Defense: Uchenna Nwosu – 4 sacks

Passing: Davis Mills – 1,946 yards, 10 TD, 9 INT
Rushing: Rex Burkhead – 207 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Brandin Cooks – 945 yards, 5 TD
Defense: Jonathan Greenard – 8 sacks

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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