The surging Houston Texans ended their four game winning streak last week but will host the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football who are suffering a two game losing streak after beginning the season 10-0. While the Patriots have suffered several injuries to key players, the point spread is still favoring them at -3 against a Texans team that needs players other than J.J. Watt to make an impact.
Sunday Night Football: New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans
Point Spread: Patriots -3 Over/under: 44.5 Date: Sunday, December 13, 8:30pm ET Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
New England Patriots
What once looked like a team willed to wins by Tom Brady, the absence of several key offensive skill players has shown that one person can’t win games by himself. With Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Dion Lewis and many others out of the line up, the offense has struggled to score at will as they’ve become accustomed. Facing the Texans poses a real challenge to try to get on track, but expect Bill Belichick to find a way to neutralize the one man wrecking crew that is J.J. Watt.
The Patriots defense has played well this season, ranking in the league’s top 10 in opponent scoring. A match up against Houston means much attention will be paid to receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who has already topped 1,000 yards receiving on the year. Neutralizing Hopkins would go a long way to keeping the Texans out of the end zone. The defense will need to be the difference maker against the Texans, as the New England offense awaits the return of some of their stars.
Momentum is on the +3 underdog Houston team’s side as their defense has really come on strong lately. Watt is having another stellar season, but ran into a brick wall against the Buffalo Bills last week. If the Bills provided a blueprint to stop Watt, expect Belichick to follow suit after watching game film. Without Watt, the Texans defense will struggle to get off the field. The last thing you want is to give Brady time to pick apart a defense, even if his favorite targets aren’t on the field.
The biggest strength the Texans have against the Patriots defense will be the passing game. Brian Hoyer will have to continue to spread the ball around, especially if Hopkins finds himself double teamed. It should help open up Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts for more opportunities. Hoyer isn’t exactly Mr. Consistent, so managing the game appropriately and avoiding mistakes will be key if they hope to keep pace with New England.
Sunday Night Football Prediction
The Patriots have shown a few chinks in their armor but will want desperately to stop their two game skid. They’ll face a team trending upward looking to clinch the AFC South in the Texans and have a lot of reason to be worried they won’t have the fire power to score enough points. Despite the circumstances, New England won’t let another game get away from them.