Texans v. Patriots: Analysis and Prediction
By: Frank Conley, Guest Contributor*
Last time the Texans played the Patriots, it didn’t end up so good for Arian Foster and company. In front of a national audience, Dec. 10th, the Patriots destroyed the Texans 42-14 in Foxboro in a game that was pretty much over by halftime after the Pats started out with a 21-0 lead. This weekend, the Texans are traveling to Foxboro again, but this time it’s in order to keep their Super Bowl dreams alive.
In their last matchup, J.J. Watt and the rest of the Houston defense were unable to put much pressure on Tom Brady other than a sack. The usual pass swats and QB pressures were kept to a minimum, which allowed the Patriot offense to have a big day. If the Texans have any chance of winning this upcoming game, it’s going to start with the defense. Last week, the defense did a great job of holding A.J. Green, Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense to only 13 points. The secondary especially did a great job, with Johnathan Joseph matched up on Green most of the game.
Last time, the Patriots were without standout tight end Rob Gronwkowski, who was out with an arm injury. This time, the Texans won’t be as lucky, as the Pats have both of their starting tight ends ready for this game. If the Texans defense can get pressure, they will have a great chance of winning, but if they can’t get it with the big guys up front, they’re going to have to bring the blitz, which will leave receivers one-on-one in the secondary. It’s a calculated risk, but Wade Phillips should have a good game plan that, if executed, will give the Texans success on defense.
On the other side of the ball, the offense had a decent game and did what they needed to do last week in Matt Schaub’s first playoff game. If the Texans are going to beat the Pats in Foxboro, he’s going to have to play very well, along with getting Arian Foster around 30 touches. In my opinion, Foster is the biggest key to the game because Foster can control 2 aspects of the game for the Texans: he can keep the time of possession in the Texans favor while gaining yards and chewing up the clock, and he can also keep pressure off Matt Schaub by making the play action pass a threat.
If the Texans are going to win, it’s not going to be in a shootout. This team doesn’t have the fire power to go toe-to-toe with Tom Brady and the Pats’ offense. Last time they tried to shut down Wes Welker too much and it cost them. This game, they’ll have even more weapons to deal with, as most of the Pats are now healthy. They’ve got to be able to get pressure on Brady and cover one-on-one assignments when they’re put in those situations.
Controlling the clock with the run game, mixing in play action passes, and taking shots down the field with Andre Johnson are what is going to ultimately win the Texans the game. If they can be balanced on offense, they have a shot. If the run game gets shut down early and they become one dimensional, it could be a long day for the Texans.
Outcome: I see this game being much closer than the last game, vegas has the Pats favored by 10. If I were putting money on the game, i’d take the Texans and the points. I do think the Texans have a great shot to win and I see it being decided by a touchdown or less but I just think with Belichick and Brady’s experience, they will find a way to win. Final Score- 28-24 Pats
*Frank Conley is a guest author for sports sites like iSatellitetv, which sells Directv Packages like NFL Sunday Ticket.