The Patriots come into this week to face the struggling Houston Texans after an improbable comeback win against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
The Texans started the season 2-0 and looked poised to compete with the Indianapolis Colts for the AFC South Division Title. But then things went downhill fast for this Houston Team. Since then the Texans have dropped 9 straight games including their last game in which they lost to the lowly Jaguars 13-6.
They have switched quarterbacks from a struggling Matt Schuab to a young talent in Case Keenum. If you are unfamiliar with Case Keenum he is the quarterback who led The University of Houston to a 12-0 season and a win in the Ticket Master Bowl against Penn State, a game in which he threw for 500 yards. Although Keenum has not won a game as an NFL Quarterback, he has played very well. He has thrown for 1161 yards to go along with 8 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions through 5 games. Case Keenum could be a star in this league, but he is still young and is still learning the game.
Arian Foster, Houston’s All Pro running back is out for season after undergoing back surgery, which was successful. His job was handed down to Ben Tate, a very capable backup who will most likely land a starting job on a different NFL team next year.
With Case Keenum, Ben Tate, and a dangerous outside wide receiver in Andre Johnson, this is an offense that is capable of putting up points, but has not clicked just yet.
The Texans have a solid defense led by arguably the best defensive player in the league, JJ Watt. JJ Watt could be a matchup nightmare as Patriots Tackle Marcus Cannon is not expected to play, leaving third string tackle Will Svitek to block JJ Watt. This matchup could be extremely problematic for the Patriots.
Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard, Steve Gregory, and Alfonzo Dennard are all questionable for Sunday’s game. All four were limited in Thursday’s practice, expect Dennard who did not practice at all. I believe all of them will play besides Dennard, which is big because the Patriots need Talib to shut down Johnson.
In the end I like the Patriots to win this game, but in a closer game than most people expect. The Texans will be able to move the ball against the Patriots defense, but I believe the Patriots will be able to force Case Keenum into mistakes which will lead to turnovers, something the Patriots defense has done so well throughout the years. Tom Brady will be able to capitalize on these mistakes and the short field which will lead to easy scores. I like the Patriots to win this game by 2 scores with a final score of 31-21.