AFC Game Of The Week
Houston Texans (2-0) at New England Patriots (2-0)
Texans: These aren’t your Houston Texans from a year ago. This is a much different looking team and it’s showing because you now see more of an effort on offense and not everything is on the defense to win games but once again, the defense has been the talk of the team and for good reason. The Texans haven’t allowed an offensive touchdown in six quarters. The final two of their opener against the Bears and they held the Kansas City Chiefs to four field goals and as expected, J.J. Watt was a force. The offense, on the other hand, has held its own. I think Brock Osweiler is still trying to get comfortable but he and Hopkins are looking to build a nice chemistry with one another. With a win on Thursday night, they’ll be 3-0 for the first time since 2012 but in order to reach that mark, they’ll have to face a much different looking Patriots team.
Patriots: We were in pure amazement when they won in Arizona in week one. There’s no Brady, no Gronk or no Ninkovich and they still pulled off the victory and that showed two things: one, that Belichick is still the best head coach in the game today and two, the Patriots truly live by the “next man up” saying. On Sunday against the Dolphins, Jimmy Garoppolo was injured and didn’t return for the rest of the game with a shoulder injury and he’s not expected to play. The football world will be introduced to rookie Jacoby Brissett. He filled in for Jimmy and wasn’t bad doing it. It was the defense that really let me down because they looked great in the first half and then allowed Tannehill and the Dolphins to score on three straight possessions but they still held on for the victory. It’s the third game of the year and the Patriots are down to their third-string quarterback.
Texans Player To Watch– Whitney Mercilus: When you game-plan for the Texans, taking away J.J. Watt is always the main priority because he’s able to destroy any offensive linemen in his path and he always draws double teams which allow others to make plays on the defense. Whitney isn’t a bad player at all. He can shed blockers, get to the ball-carrier and rush the passer. He can be very effective.
Patriots Player To Watch– James White: When you look at a majority of the Patriots running backs throughout the years, they’ve all been able to do one thing and that’s catching the ball on check-downs and James continues that trend. He struggles to block but making plays out the backfield is what he does best. The Texans defense will clamp down and take Blount away and put the game in the hands of the young quarterback. James White will be targeted quite a bit.
Prediction: When they met last season, the Patriots were in the midst of a two-game losing streak after winning ten in a row and they went down to Houston and got back on track with a dominating performance. They shut down the Texans passing attack and held the Texans to only two field goals. This is a better looking Texans team coming to Foxborough now. I think the Patriots defense bounces back as well. I like New England at home in this one. Patriots 19 Texans 14