The New England Patriots take on the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 8:30 PM. ET.
The Patriots have not lost three games in a row since the 2002 season. The circumstances, however, for this Patriots squad are different. Tom Brady is known for making his receivers and other players around him better. But, over the last two games, both of which have been losses, Brady has struggled to overcome injuries to key offensive weapons. If Brady and company are to get back on track, they’ll need to play mistake free football. The Patriots coming off two straight losses have zero room for error.
The Texans are 5-2 over their last seven games. The Texans are in first place, tied with the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South. Last week, Houston lost to the Bills in Buffalo. This season, the Texans are only 2-4 on the road, but at home they’ve played better with a record of 4-2. The Texans will try to avoid consecutive losses since weeks four and five.
New England’s receiving core is struggling to find consistency. Danny Amendola’s emergence as Brady’s number one receiver has made him vital in the passing game. Against Philadelphia, Amendola had seven catches for 62 yards and one score. It was a solid performance for Amendola returning from a knee injury.
The biggest disappointment in week 13 was Brandon LaFell. Brady needs receivers to step up with Edelman and Gronkowski still sidelined by injury. While Gronkowski is questionable to play this week, the Patriots cannot wait idly with the playoffs only four weeks away. In week 14, LaFell had four catches for 27 yards on nine targets. LaFell’s nine targets in week 13 were third most on the team. If the Patriots are to get the offense moving again, LaFell will need to start hauling in passes this week. It’s now or never.
The Texans, in week 13, struggled to get pressure on Buffalo’s quarterback, Tyrod Taylor. It won’t get any easier this week with the news of J.J. Watt’s broken hand. Still, Watt is going to suit up and face the Patriot’s offensive line that gave up four sacks on Tom Brady last week. Brady has already been sacked more times this season than all last season with four weeks remaining in the season. The Patriots offensive line has been a rotation of mediocrity. The Texans will certainly get pressure on Brady. Last week, the Texans only sacked Taylor one time. If the Texans fail to generate pressure again this week, then Brady should have enough time to find open receivers.
A player to watch on the Patriots is James White. The Patriots have sorely missed Deon Lewis’ explosiveness at receiving back. Since the loss of Lewis, the Patriots have used White sparingly. Last week, White got the opportunity as the featured back in the passing game and, despite the loss, made the most of his opportunity. On the afternoon, White had 10 receptions for 115 yards and one score. Going forward, the Patriots, out of necessity, need to get White more involved in the offense.
A player to watch this week on the Texans is DeAndre Hopkins. Against the Bills, Hopkins had five receptions for 88 yards and one score. On the season, Hopkins is already over the thousand yard receiving mark and has ten touchdowns. The Patriots secondary is thin at cornerback and, throughout the season, have given up big plays to elite receivers. Hopkins is a top receiver in the league, but is often overlooked because of sub par quarterback play. If the Patriots want to eliminate Hopkins’ impact on the game, then they’d be wise to double cover Hopkins all afternoon.
Texans Vs Patriots Week 14 Betting Lines
The Patriots loss to the Eagles in week 13 was impart due to a few special teams blunders. The Patriots gave up a punt return and a blocked punt for a touchdown. The Patriots will improve upon these areas and rebound for the victory on the road.
Play: Patriots -3.5 @ BetOnline.ag