Houston Texans vs. New England Patriots
Date and Time: Thursday, September 22, 2016, 8:25 p.m. ET
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
Week 3 NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Texans -1.5, O/U 41
Texans vs. Patriots TV Coverage: CBS, NFL Network
The Texans look like the real deal and their defense is leading the way. Led by J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus and John Simon, the group has collected a NFL-best nine sacks through two games and thoroughly dominated the Bears and Chiefs in both wins. The play of the defense has likely been a blessing for Brock Osweiler, who signed a mega contract in the offseason to lead the offense. While Osweiler has been average, the Texans need and expect more from him to live up to that lofty deal. There will come a time when the defense falters and Houston will need to win a shootout and Osweiler hasn’t shown he’s capable of doing that just yet.
It’s next man up for the Patriots. And in this case it’s next quarterback up. Brissett likely gets the starting assignment after Garoppolo took a big hit to his throwing shoulder suffering what reports say is a sprained AC joint. But after winning the first two games with Brady serving his suspension, the Patriots are playing with house money now. Not knowing what to expect through the first quarter of the season, a split of the four games is a scenario the Patriots would gladly accept. Well, they have that and they aren’t settling.
The Pats have history on their side and that could be all they have going for them. New England has won six of the seven all-time meetings between the clubs, including the last four, and is 5-2 ATS. Being a home underdog has been to the Pats liking as well. They are 3-0 both SU and ATS in the last three such scenarios and are 7-1 both SU and ATS in the past eight.
Matchup To Watch
The Patriots had an entire preseason to get Garoppolo ready for his moment in the spotlight. They’ll have less than a week to prepare Brissett to start against the Texans on Thursday Night Football. Bill Belichick took a chance going with just two quarterbacks on his roster until Brady’s four-game suspension is done. The move may have backfired after Gaoppolo suffered a shoulder injury after being slammed to the turf. Now the Pats are forced to start Brissett on a short week. Brissett took over following Garoppolo’s injury and led the Pats to a touchdown on their first possession of the second half.
Brissett did complete 6 of 9 passes for 92 yards and ran for another 12 yards, but New England kept the game plan simple and turned to the running game to close out the contest. After building a 31-3 lead on LeGerrette Blount’s 9-yard run early in the third, the Pats went scoreless the rest of the way and the Dolphins made the game closer by scoring the final 21 points. Brissett will face one of the best defensive fronts in the game and should expect plenty of heat from Watt, Clowney and the rest of the Texans front. Establishing the run will be key for New England’s success and Blount will again be the workhorse. If Houston can shut him down, Brissett will be forced to throw and that could play into the hands of the league’s leading sack team.
Texans vs. Patriots Free Picks
For the first time in nearly two years the Patriots are a home dog at +1.5 on the odds at BookMaker.eu. It’s happened just seven times since the start of the 2002 season and New England rather enjoys getting points while playing in Foxboro. Over those games the Pats are 6-1 SU and ATS. This is obviously a different situation with Brissett set to start for the injured backup and many folks aren’t giving New England much of a chance against the up and coming Texans.
Brissett will definitely have his work cut out for him, but don’t count the Patriots out of any game. Just think back to the season opener when Garoppolo made his first career start filling in for Brady at Arizona. The Pats were a 9-point dog and not many gave them a chance in that one. We know how that turned out. Belichick thinks so highly of his rookie that the team doesn’t even have a normal backup and will use Julian Edelman in that capacity. I like the Patriots too, especially at home.
Texans vs. Patriots Week 3 ATS Pick: Patriots +1.5 at BookMaker.eu
Texans vs. Patriots Score Prediction: Patriots 24, Houston 21