The Houston Texans will be trying to keep their playoff hopes alive this week when they host the AFC East leading New England Patriots at NRG Stadium on Sunday night. The game is scheduled to begin at 8:30 PM. ET.
The Patriots started the season 10-0, which led to a lot of speculation that they might finish the season undefeated. Unfortunately for the Patriots, the Denver Broncos had other ideas in mind and ended their 10 game winning streak two weeks ago.
The loss to Denver not only ruined the Patriots chances of another undefeated season, it also cost them the services of All Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, who left the game with a knee injury that is expected to cost him a few games.
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Without Gronkowski in the lineup, the Patriots were upset by the Philadelphia Eagles last week, and have now lost two consecutive games.
The Houston Texans had a rough start to the season, they were 1-4 at one point, but they seem to have hit their stride in recent weeks and are now 6-6 and tied with the Indianapolis Colts for the AFC South lead.
The Texans, who were on a four game losing streak prior to last week, lost to the Buffalo Bills in a close game, and are going to try to start a new streak this week.
Tom Brady, who has been hit over 30 times in the last two games, will face a lot of pressure from the Texans defense which is led by last season’s Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt. Brady will also be without his best receivers with Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Rob Gronkowski all out with injuries.
With the Patriots not having their top receivers available, expect them to run the ball more than they usually do to protect their star quarterback.
The Patriots will also have to find a way to contain DeAndre Hopkins, who is quickly becoming one of the best receivers in the NFL.
Since the Texans lost their first meeting of the season against the Indianapolis Colts, they are currently 9th in the AFC playoff picture even though they have the same record as the Colts. Winning this game sets up a winner take all game with the Colts next week, so they can’t afford to lose this game.
Even though their playoff spot is guaranteed, the Patriots also have a lot to play for in this game because they are tied with the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos for the best record in the AFC and still have a chance to clinch the top spot if they win out and the Bengals and Broncos lose a game.
Game Lines and Odds
BetOnline.ag has the Patriots set as 3.5 point favourites in this game. The over/under on total points scored is 45. Check out our full BetOnline.ag review to learn more about our top rated sportsbook.
When healthy, the Patriots are the better team, but since they will be without three of their biggest offensive weapons, I don’t think they will be able to defeat a relatively healthy Texans team so I’m picking Houston to cover the spread and win the game.
Play: Texans +3.5 @ BetOnline.ag