Intriguing Game- Week 14
Patriots (10-2) at Texans (6-6)
Patriots: After winning their first ten games to begin the season, the Patriots have cooled off considerably. They lost a heartbreaker in Denver and they were absolutely shocked by the Eagles at home which nobody saw coming. The injuries are piling up and no Gronk on the field is a huge loss. He’s their most important player that isn’t wearing the number 12. We know all about the mismatches he brings on the field and what he’s able to do. Let’s look at some numbers. With Rob Gronkowski in the line up, the Patriots offense is a force. They average close to 32 points a game. He’s Brady’s go to guy for a reason. 63 touchdowns between the two? I’d say so too. Without Gronk, they average only 16 points a game, maybe a little less than that. With a win on Sunday and a Jets loss, the Patriots will win the AFC East for the seventh straight season.
Texans: After that horrible loss to the Dolphins, the Texans had a wake up call and they finally started to get it together. What’s really impressed me has been DeAndre Hopkins becoming that number one wide receiver and many thought that he didn’t have what it took to be that go to guy. He’s had a great year and he’s had to step up especially with Arian Foster out. Prior to their loss last week to Buffalo, the Texans had won three games in a row and were in the mix for the Wild Card in the AFC playoff picture. They handed the Bengals their first loss of the season and as of now, I’m still not counting them out because you never know what can happen. Defensively, J.J. Watt is showing his dominance once again and he could be on pace to win his third defensive MVP and his second in back to back years. This is a big game on Sunday with the defending Super Bowl champions coming to town.
Prediction: Bill Belichick gave J.J. Watt the highest compliment possible and put his name in the same conversation with the greatest defensive player of all time and that’s Mr. Lawrence Taylor. This Patriots offense is much different without Gronk, Edelman and Dion Lewis so you defend them differently. Amendola is good, but he’s not guy that requires any double teams. Houston will play these Patriot receivers in straight man to man coverage underneath. With their offensive line struggling, they must also find a way to neutralize Watt from getting to Brady. The Patriots need to get Blount going early on. I don’t think throwing the ball 50 times will help them. Get James White involved a little more and the same goes for Brandon Bolden. I like the Patriots to bounce back. Patriots 24 Texans 21.