The AFC North meets the NFC East on Sunday afternoon as the Houston Texans duke it out with the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. These teams met last year and the Patriots won a thrilling game at home by a score of 36-33. The Texans went 3-1 in the preseason, while the Pats also went 3-1.
The Texans Look To Erase Memories Of A Horrible 2017
It was a very bad season for the Texans last year as they went just 4-12 overall. They suffered a couple of big injuries as QB DeShaun Watson went down early, while All-Pro DL JJ Watt was lost for the year on defense. Both are back and that has the team expecting a bounce-back year. Watson played in just seven games his first year in the league before going down with a season-ending injury. He threw for 1699 yards with 19 TDs and eight INTs in those games while rushing for 269 yards and two TDs, which shows the potential he has. The receiving corps will be solid with DeAndre Hopkins back after grabbing 96 balls for 1378 yards and 13 TDs a season ago. They also added Sammie Coates through free agency and grabbed Keke Coutee in the 4th round of the draft.
Lamar Miller had a solid season with 888 yards rushing last year and will be the main focus of their ground attack this year. The defense had their issues a year ago as they finished last in the league in points allowed, but they should be far better this year with JJ Watt back on the field. He played in just five games last year. The Texans used four draft picks on this side of the ball and also brought in defensive backs Tyrann Mathieu & Aaron Colvin through free agency. This is an improved team on both sides of the ball and they should be in the mix for a playoff spot this year, as long as they stay healthy.
The Texans were not a good offensive team a year ago as they ranked 20th in the league in total offense, 21st in passing, 14th in rushing, and 17th in scoring at 21.1 ppg. On defense, they were not good as they ranked 20th in total yards allowed, 24th against the pass and 13th vs the run, while allowing 27.2 ppg, which was last in the league.
Patriots Look To Make Another Run At A Super Bowl Title
The New England Patriots have owned this division for the decade and a half and have won it the last nine years in a row. Last year, they made it to their 8th Super Bowl in their last 17 years but came up just a bit short against the Eagles. This year they again have high hopes which is totally understandable when you have Tom Brady back and running the offense. He should have another strong season, but we do note that the Pats don’t have as much depth at WR as they have been used to. They will also be without Julian Edelman until week five as he has been suspended the first four games.
The ground attack has some good backs with Rex Burkhead, Mike Gillislee, and Sonny Michel, who they took in the first round of the draft. The defense had some odd numbers last year as you can see below. They had a bend-but-don’t-break defense and will look for a much more consistent unit this time around. It will not be easy as they lost the architect of their defense in DC Matt Patricia, who is now the head man at Detroit. They do lose All-Pro corner Malcolm Butler, but the rest of the defense is still pretty much intact. The Pats will win their 10th division title in a row and it won’t even be close.
New England was a very good offensive team last year as they ranked 1st in the league in total offense, 2nd in passing, 10th in rushing, and 2nd in scoring at 28.6 ppg. On defense, they were poor as they ranked 29th in total yards allowed, 30th against the pass and 20th vs the run, while allowing just 18.5 ppg, which was 5th in the league.
New England is:
- 1-4 ATS in their last five games in Week one
- The Over is 9-4 in their last 13 home games
- The Over is 68-33 in their last 101 games on fieldturf
- 5-2 ATS in their last seven games in September
- The Over is 8-2 the last 10 games in this serie