PATRIOTS @ TEXANS – SUNDAY NIGHT PREVIEW (DEC 1)!
PATRIOTS TRAVEL TO HOUSTON WITH MULTIPLE PLAYERS SUFFERING FLU BUG FOR SUN. NIGHT PRIME TIME GAME OF WEEK!
VEGAS ODDS: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-3) @ HOUSTON TEXANS ~ TOTAL: (46)
NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE (#16) ~ (92 Rush/261 Pass) vs. HOUSTON DEFENSE (#20) ~ (109 Rush/259 Pass)
HOUSTON OFFENSE (#6) ~ (137 Rush/245 Pass) vs. NEW ENGLAND DEFENSE (#2) ~ (98 Rush/158 Pass)
Well folks the Texans Defense basically allows exactly what the Patriots average. The difference is the Patriots D allows 126 yards per game less than the Texans average on Offense. The good news for the Texans is the Patriots and QB Tom Brady are simply struggling this season and in the past 3 games the Pats Brady has only 2 TD passes and the Offense is averaging only (16.6) points per game. They did play 3 Defenses in the top 12, but the main reason for the Offensive woes is the Patriots Offensive Line is just not that good. They will be facing a Texans Defense that is ranked just #20, but they do have 51 tackles for loss and forced 13 fumbles, recovering 9. The Patriots are also not rushing the ball close to good enough to win a Super Bowl (just 3.3 yards per carry which ranks 3rd worst in the NFL). The Pats have a season long rush of just 26 yards. They have been forced to grind it out on Offense. It’s the Pats Defense that has helped lead this team to it’s one loss record. The Pats D has held 7 opposing QB’s to pass for under 200 pass yards and have only allowed 4 Pass TD’s all season. They are first in the league in opposing QB pass completion % (53%). They allow only 158 passing yards per game and are a Plus 19 in turnovers. The Pats D has only given up 14 points or more ONCE all season.
The Texans Offense has rushed for over 100 rushing yards in 9 of it’s 11 games. They must run it over 100 here and grind it as to keep the Pats Offense off the field. We know Texans QB Watson has performed fantastic over his years as the Underdog, but he needs his Offensive Line that has been brutally bad to play it’s best game all season. The Texans have 3 running backs to stay fresh and when they get a decent game from OL, they usually play well. The best news for the Texans Offense has been getting WR Will Fuller back healthy. In his last 2 home games, he’s gained 357 receiving yards and 3 TD’s and opens up their #1 stud WR D. Hopkins to not always be double covered. Also when the secondary is forced to stay back to help not get beat deep, the Pats aren’t able to load the box to stuff out the run game. Houston’s Offense is really good once they get ball into the Red Zone (#6 at 65%). Against the Pats D you MUST score points when you get that close.
Houston is a lot like the Colts and Chargers, as for most part they are in almost every game, playing most of them within a TD or less. In fact, 8 of the Texans 11 games so far have been decided by 7 points or less.
The Patriots have dominated this series, winning 6 straight and 8 of the past 9 meetings vs. the Texans. With D. Watson at QB for the Texans, the Pats have won both meetings, but both were decided by a TD or less.
Houston is just (1-5) ATS in their past 6 Home games.
Houston is just (2-9-1) ATS in their last 12 games played in December.
INJURY REPORT FOR BOTH TEAMS:
OUT: TE R. Izzo (illness).
QUESTIONABLE: LB J. Bentley (knee), T M.Cannon (illness), S P. Chung (illness, heel), LB J. Collins (illness), DT B. Cowart (head), WR P. Dorsett (concussion), S N. Ebner (ankle, back), WR Julian Edelman (shoulder), G J. Eluemunor (illness), CB S. Gilmore (illness), LB D. Hightower (illness), CB Jason McCourty (groin), WR M. Sanu (ankle), WR M. Slater (hamstring), CB J. Williams (illness) and T I. Wynn (illness), LB Kyle Van Noy (illness).
OUT: DE C. Watkins (hamstring).
DOUBTFUL: T T. Howard (knee).
QUESTIONABLE: DE A. Blackson (shoulder), CB G. Conley (hip) and LB B. Scarlett (shoulder).
For the Texans to pull off the Upset, they can’t allow Watson to be sacked more than once. Watson can not turn the ball over and help out a now struggling Pats Offense. The Pats may be at their fullest at the WR position as they will finally field all their weapons this week. The Pats OL is much like the Texans, plain bad. Look if you are the Texans here you must run the ball well, and not allow the deep pass when on Defense. The Pats can be the first team in the NFL to clinch a Playoff berth with a win here. There is never a good time to really bet your hard earned cash against the Pats, especially when it’s a HC mismatch with Belichick laying over O’Brien by like a million feet. The Pats only have one loss, but this is the time they are really ripe to be upset. Can the Texans play their elite top game of the season on both sides of the ball? They likely will at least keep it close, as I doubt either side takes a big lead at any time. Should be an entertaining game with both HC’s playing it close to the vest for as long as they can.