Houston Texans (9-7; 7-9-1 ATS; 7-10 O/U) vs. New England Patriots (14-2; 13-3 ATS; 6-10 O/U)
AFC Divisional Playoff: Saturday, January 14, 2017 at 8:15pm EST
Line: New England -15.5
The New England Patriots will take on the Houston Texans in the AFC Divisional Playoff game Saturday night from Gillette Stadium. The Texans handled the Raiders by a 27-14 score last weekend, and the Patriots won the division with a 14-2 record and enjoyed a bye week last week. The Patriots crushed the Texans 27-0 back in week two. Jacoby Brissett was at quarterback for the Patriots and Brock Osweiler only threw for 196 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception for Houston.
Osweiler Plays well, Texans Defense Shines in Win Over Raiders
The Houston Texans are off to the Divisional Playoffs for the first time since 2012 when they lost 41-28 in New England. The Texans looked good on both sides of the ball in their 27-14 victory over the Raiders last week. Brock Osweiler did not put up big numbers but he played well, throwing for 168 yards with one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown, and did not throw any interceptions. Osweiler has struggled for a majority of the season, throwing a total of 2957 yards with a 15:16 TD to INT ratio in the regular season. A big key for Houston will be the performance of their running game against the Patriots third-ranked rush defense. Houston was able to rush for 123 yards as a team last week, with Lamar Miller leading the way with 73 yards off 23 carries. Miller is a solid running back, accumulating 1073 rushing yards on the season, and has rushed for 73 or more yards in five straight games. DeAndre Hopkins made his presence felt last week, making five grabs for 67 yards, and he will have to have a solid outing for the Texans to have a chance. Houston is averaging 17.4 points per game, ranking them down at 29th in the NFL.
The Texans defense came up big last week, allowing only 203 total yards and held Oakland to a 2 for 16 mark on third downs. The Houston defense is no doubt the strength of this team and they will need to be at their absolute best to have a chance in this contest. Watch for Jadeveon Clowney (six sacks) and Benardrick McKinney (five sacks) to make their presence felt in this one. Even without J.J. Watt, Houston had played great defense, allowing an average of 20.5 points per game, good for 11th in the NFL.
Patriots Primed for Super Bowl Run
The New England Patriots come into the Divisional Playoff well rested after enjoying a first-round bye. The Patriots are currently riding a seven-game winning streak with all seven victories coming decisively. Tom Brady was simply phenomenal this season, accumulating 3554 passing yards with a 28:2 TD to INT ratio in 12 games played. The Patriots will be without tight end Rob Gronkowski but Danny Amendola is expected to play in this one. Amendola does not put up huge numbers, recording only 243 receiving yards in 12 games, but he has valuable playoff experience. Look for Julian Edelman to see a ton of targets in this contest. Edelman had a great season, racking up a team-leading 1106 receiving yards, and tallied 38 receiving yards against the Texans earlier this season. LeGarrette Blount was able to rush for 105 yards and two touchdowns in the win against Houston in week three. He won’t see as many carries in this one but he can still make a big impact on the game. The powerful running back had a terrific season, rushing fro 1161 yards with 18 touchdowns. New England’s potent offense averaged 27.6 points per game, ranking them third in the NFL.
The Patriots defense was under the radar this season as most do not realize this team finished with the number one ranked defense. They were especially strong when it came to stopping the run which is huge as Houston will run the ball in this one. If they can stop Lamar Miller they should take this one easily. New England allowed an average of only 15.6 points per game, ranking them first in the NFL.
The Houston Texans are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 150 passing yards in their previous game.
The New England Patriots are:
- No Key Trends
I am taking the points with the Texans in this one. I think Houston’s defense is strong enough to keep this one close. The Texans have a great pass defense, conceding only 201 passing yards per game, ranking them second in the NFL, so I expect them to at least slow down Brady and the Patriots offense. Also, I think Houston’s running game can do enough damage to get on the scoreboard. Miller is a solid running back, and he was able to rush for 80 yards against the Patriots earlier this season. The Patriots will need to outscore the Texans by two touchdowns and a field goal which is asking a lot against this strong defense.
Pick: Houston Texans +15.5
New England does have a strong offense, however the Texans have a great pass defense with a ton of playmakers on defense including Jadeveon Clowney. Houston is only allowing an average of 300 yards per game which is the best mark in the NFL so they will slow down New England, plus the under is 5-1 in the Texans last six road games against a team with a winning home record. Houston does not have a strong offense and will not put up big points against New England’s number one ranked defense. The under is 4-1 in the Texans last five games after allowing less than 90 rushing yards in their previous game, and I expect them to slow down Blount in this one as well.