New England Patriots vs Houston Texans Predictions, Picks & Betting Tips
Brock Osweiler and the Houston Texans will head to Foxborough Sunday to face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the 27 degree frigid cold. This playoff match determines who will play in the AFC championship game next week. So can Houston’s defense keep it close? Or will Brady’s healthy offense smoke the Texans in route to the Super Bowl?
Houston won big last week over Oakland, 27-14. Osweiler completed 14 of 25 passes for 168 yards and 1 TD on the day. Perhaps more importantly, he didn’t throw an INT. His leading receiver was DeAndre Hopkins with 67 yards and a TD. RB Lamar Miller came back from injury last week and looked good, rushing for 73 yards and a TD. The Texan’s defense picked off rookie quarterback Connor Cook 3 times on the day.
New England won 11 of its last 12 matches in the regular season, largely due to Brady’s week 5 return after serving a four-game suspension. Their only loss came at home to the Seahawks in week 10. The Pats are coming off a 1st round bye, and beat the Dolphins two weeks ago, 35-14. In that match, Brady completed 25 pf 33 passes for 276 yards and 3 TD’s. Julian Edelman was his leading receiver with 151 yards and 1 TD. RB LaGarrette Blount rushed for 51 yards and a TD. New England intercepted Matt Moore once on the day.
Why New England Patriots -14 Point Spread?
The Patriots are looking healthier
With the exception of a few players that ended up on the IR list, New England’s starting roster is looking pretty healthy overall —and that’s a scary thing. Especially for a Texan’s team that lost big to the Pats early in the season, 27-0. That week, Osweiler laid a goose egg. And Brady wasn’t even playing in that match, it was Jacoby Brissett under center.
Now it’s the playoffs and Brady is back, plus a lot of other key bodies are looking to see action this Saturday. All 5 starting offensive linemen are playing for the Pats, which should help offset Houston’s brutal front 7, who will be looking to keep Brady under duress —which is a proven way to beat the Patriots. Also, Patriot’s wide receivers Danny Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell are looking to play Saturday. Both returned to practice during their bye week. And even with Gronkowski out for the season, TE Martellus Bennett has stepped up through injury and is finally looking very close to being healthy. And on the backend, Eric Rowe has been back for 3 weeks and is finding his groove. Plus Malcolm Butler and Devin Mccourty are ready to roll. I don’t see the Texan’s offense scoring more than 13 points in this match.
Brady and LaGarrette Blount over Osweiler and Lamar Miller
Blount is looking healthy and very capable of being a battering ram for the Pats this week. Miller is an elite runner as well, and looked good last week after returning from his ankle injury. But I don’t trust him to stay healthy during the match if they have to use him as a work horse —which they will look to do in order to keep the ball away from Brady and the Pat’s potent offense.
Brady passed for 3,554 yards, 28 TD’s, and 2 INT’s this season. That is outstanding. It’s scary to think what he might have done if he had played all 16 games. New England has the #4 ranked passing offense in the league. They are averaging around 28 points per match. Compare this to Houston’s 29th ranked offense scoring around 17 points per match. Plus, Osweiler has thrown more INT’s than TD’s this season. I’ll take a well rested Patriot’s team to cover the point spread any week vs a team with Osweiler at the helm.
**Be aware of the Texan’s defense**
Football Insiders ranks Houston’s defense 8th in the league. The Texan’s defense has allowed the fewest net yards in the NFL. Houston held Rodgers and the Packers to just 21 points at Lambeau a few weeks ago. Clowney, Mercilus, and McKinney are no joke and could spell disaster for Brady if he gets pressured. Also, CB AJ Bouye is rated as one of, if not the best cornerback in the league by Pro Football Focus. He and Jonathan Joseph have held wide receivers to the 4th fewest yards, and receptions in the 2016 season.
The Texan’s defense is a beast. But their offense is a kitten. Osweiler can’t find his groove against the defensive looks that Belichick throws at him. The Pats pick him off twice. Blount rushes for 2 TD’s. Brady passes for 260 yards and a TD. Lamar Miller is held to 60 yards and 1 TD. New England beats the Texans in the cold, 27-10.
*If the high point spread scares you, then taking the unders here might be a good play as well.