The Patriots will play the home field Texans Sunday Night at 8:30 pm on NBC.
The Patriots need a win after dropping their last two and the Texans need a win to keep pace for a wild card spot or to keep pace for a divisional title. It’s a must win game for the two teams. It’s also Tom Brady’s number one ranked passing offense against J.J. Watt’s number three ranked passing defense.
The Texans defense is 21st ranked against the run so the Pats could expose them there, but can Brady resist the temptation to throw in a dome? I don’t know, but Blount could be used more in this game, especially in the first half to even up the run/pass play calling and to open up the pass. The Patriots can be very dangerous if and when the play action comes into play, it’s the best play for a Brady to Gronk connection. I would look for a run heavy offense in the first half, but with a dome, I can’t be for certain, but you never are 100% certain with the ever changing Patriots offense. Brady should have Gronk back, I believe on a limited basis, with Amendola, LaFell, Chandler, and the emerging White, but they have to get open fast. Quick passes will be the thing for the Pats to help out the protection against the Texans dangerous pass rush. The Pats will double team J.J. Watt and it will work and there isn’t really anyone else they have to fear on the line, so they should be fine. It’s the blitzing linebackers that may give them fits, so look for Brady to connect with White out of the backfield a lot to counter blitzes. You have to love the idea of James White’s speed in a dome.
The Texans passing offense is ranked higher than their run, but that’s because DeAndre Hopkins is carrying the offense on his back which makes him priority number one for the Patriots defense. The Pats will look to stop him first and foremost. They will have Butler shadowing Hopkins with Devin McCourty’s safety help. I think Logan Ryan will be on a cape with Cecil Shorts, a very speedy guy, but I think Ryan’s speed can match Shorts, which makes this the ideal one-on-one matchup for the Patriots. Patrick Chung will be with the tight end Ryan Griffin, a guy Hoyer loves to throw too, especially in the red zone. Basically, he’s Hoyer’s safety net, so Chung again has a good and interesting matchup. Number two on the priority list for the Patriots will be stopping the run. It’s been a problem for the Patriots defense since Hightower went out with an injury in the first half of the Denver Broncos game. Hightower missing the 2nd half against the Broncos was a big reason why the Patriots fell for the first time this season in overtime. The Eagles only success on offense, the limited time they were on the field, was via the run. It’s a problem for the Patriots and if he can’t go, I’m assuming the Pats will have a big part of the game plan dedicated to stopping Alfred Blue. I think Jamie Collins will cover Blue on passing downs and the linebackers will be dedicated to stop the run, along with Brown and Branch.
This is what I think the Patriots have plan for a Texans defense that loves to blitz and a Texans offense that loves to throw the deep ball.
Hope you enjoyed my preview, now go enjoy the game!