The Patriots will take on the Houston Texans in a matchup that has been flexed to a Sunday Night game because the Texans defense is playing better and the Texas team is in the hunt for a postseason spot, while the Pats are trying to keep pace with the Bengals for a first-round bye.
The Patriots need this win if they want a first-round bye, to get this win over the Houston Texans, who will have the crowd behind them, here are the three players who must step up in the bright lights.
1. SS Patrick Chung:
He’s been on the injury report, so he’s worth watching the injury report for, him and Gronk, to see if they can give it a go on Sunday night. Chung, if he plays, is worth watching because he will take on Tight End Ryan Griffin in one interesting battle. He was targeted 5 times against the Bills, caught 3 passes for 29 yards and a touchdown. He’s played in five games this season, recording 13 catches for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns. Chung has been tasked with so many different things this year, playing SS and CB, covering wide outs to tight ends, and he’s done it all with an A+ grade. He’s had a big year, and he will need that to continue if the Pats are to totally shut down the Texans offense.
2. OG Marcus Cannon/Tre Jackson/ Shaq Mason:
Whoever and whichever two plays guard on Sunday along with Andrews and Stork have to be ready because the one who doubles up Watt will leave the opposite guard on an island to handle the Texans blitzes and other pass rushers. Whitney Mercilus has 6.5 sacks this season. He will pressure the guards on his blitzes and harass the running backs if the line can’t hold him. He’s the linebacker the Patriots Guards must stop. The Guard play has never been more important and more shaky.
3. Logan Ryan:
Forget a day, he’s been having himself a year. Logan Ryan has been the best number two corner on the Patriots team and maybe in the league. He’s shown up this year and shown out. He shuts down the number two wide outs and sometimes even the number one guy. He’s playing bigger than his size. Sunday, he will face a very speedy and explosive WR named Cecil Shorts. He caught 6 passes on 10 targets for 91 yards against the Bills. Ryan will need to shut him down because if he does, the Texans offense shouldn’t move the ball.