New England (10-2) at Houston (6-6)
When: Sunday, December 13th 2015
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Time: 8:30 ET | TV: NBC
The New England Patriots will attempt to avoid their first three-game losing streak in 13 years when they visit the resurgent Houston Texans on Sunday night. The Patriots have held a 14-0 lead in each of their last two games, but the rash of injuries on the offensive side might finally be catching up to them. Tom Brady had his first multi-interception game last week against Philadelphia and had one of those returned 99-yards to spark the Eagles. Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who injured his knee November 29th against Denver, practiced on a limited basis this week, but is not expected to play tonight. Without him and Julian Edelman, Brady has turned to Danny Amendola, who has 26 catches in his last three games. The Patriots two-game losing streak has dropped them to the third seed in the AFC behind Denver and Cincinnati. Still, a win tonight could wrap up their seventh straight AFC East title depending on what the Jets do earlier in the day. That would tie the Los Angeles Rams (1973-79) with the longest such streak in NFL history. The Patriots will return home next week against Tennessee then finish up their season on the road in Miami and New York (Jets).
After a 1-4 start to the season, the Houston Texans got their defense going and are now tied with Indianapolis atop the AFC South. Houston was a perfect 4-0 in November allowing a total of 35 points. They slipped up last week allowing Buffalo to run for 187 yards and lost to the Bills 30-21. J.J. Watt broke his hand in practice on Wednesday, but said he’s ready to go Sunday. He has an NFL-best 13.5 sacks this season and the Texans rank third in the league in passing defense. Linebacker Whitney Mercilus has 6.5 sacks in his last seven games. Quarterback Brian Hoyer tossed three touchdowns last week – the sixth time in seven games he has multiple touchdown passes. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who is emerging as one of the best receivers in the game, has 10 touchdown receptions and is third in the league with 1,169 yards this season. After today, Houston will play their three remaining games against the AFC South including a date at Indianapolis next week.
People are picking New England to win this game just because they don’t think they’ll loose three in a row. That’s just ridiculous. That Patriots are really struggling on offense without their key weapons and this Houston defense is playing lights-out. Brady is the best, but I think the Texans get the better of him tonight.
Pick: Texans +3