So the team does still know how to win games. After taking the loss to the Chiefs in week one, the New England Patriots (1-1) are back to their winning ways after a win this past Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
Sunday, the Patriots will host the week three matchup against the Houston Texans (1-1), as the newly promoted DeShaun Watson will lead the 2016 AFC South champions into Gillette Stadium.
Last season the Texans were able to take their divisional crown despite poor quarterback play, and without star defensive end J.J. Watt. It can (and will) be debated that this is not the same exact team as last season, but it has to be wondered what this Houston team will bring to the table.
(If you would like to listen to a preview of this game, check out the latest episode of Psycho Sports)
What makes the Texans good?
JJ Watt is back. Last season, without arguably the best defensive player in the NFL, the Texans still provided the league’s best yardage defense across the entire league. Former first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney was able to show the league why he was such a celebrated player coming out of college. Having Watt back creates a pass rush that might not be matched by any other teams in professional football.
A team playing for an entirely devastated city, Houston does not have a well regarded offense. DeAndre Hopkins is a very well respected receiver however, with two seasons over one thousand yards under his belt. Last season he finished just forty-six yards of making it three in a row after surpassing 1500 yards in 2015. His drop in production can be linked to weak quarterback play last season.
What makes the Texans bad?
That defense has lost a lot of significant pieces from only a season ago, Once considered one of the best inside linebackers, Brian Cushing was suspended ten games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Losing him over the middle takes away a player who has been very capable of intercepting the ball over the course of his career.
A.J. Bouye was a strong contributor in limiting opposing passing attacks last season, however he has joined the division rival Jacksonville Jaguars, and his partner in crime Jonathan Joseph left last week’s game with a shoulder injury. At 33 years old, his body might not be ready to take the field. They also lost fellow secondary contributor Quintin Demps and the big body of Vince Wilfork at nose tackle.
The Houston offense isn’t taken very seriously. That’s for a reason. In the 2016 offseason they paid one of the most sought after free agents in quarterback Brock Osweiler only to see it blow up in their face. Tom Savage began this season under center, but didn’t even make it through one game. The ball is now in the hands of rookie Deshaun Watson, who will be making his second career start against what was considered one of the best secondaries entering the season. The twelfth pick of the 2017 draft was only able to muster 125 yards and zero touchdowns through the air during his first career start.
How can Houston win?
They need to hope Watson’s legs are able to win the race for them. Their defense is not at full capacity but is still able to supply pressure on Brady. With injuries on the Patriot’s offense, the losses in the secondary might be canceled out by the lack of receiving depth in New England if Gronkowski and Amendola are not ruled eligible. They have a chance, but not a significant one.
Patriots 30- Texans 13
Tyler’s pick record: 1-1 (correctly predicted the score of the team that lost each game)
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