Welcome to the second weekend of the NFL playoffs, also known as the Divisional Round! With the Wild Card Round in the books, the field has been narrowed from 12 to eight. All eight teams will be in action this weekend, with two games on Saturday, January 14th, and two more on Sunday, January 15th. The second of those games will be held at 8:15 pm EST on Saturday, and will see the Houston Texans travel to Massachusetts to take on the New England Patriots. The Texans enter the contest as the four seed in the AFC, following a victory at home last week against the Oakland Raiders. Their opponents, the Patriots, hold the one seed and had the luxury of having last week off.
Wow is that a large spread. Now like most, I do not really see the Texans as having much of a chance to beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots this Saturday. But do I think it is wise to lay 16 points against a team with that solid of a defense? No, I do not. The Texans offense is a big weakness, with Brock Osweiler arguably the worst starting quarterback in the NFL. As a result, the Texans are not likely to put up many points this weekend against a pretty decent Pats defense. But the Texans defense is one of the best in football, so the Patriots are no locks to score a ton either.
When I think of the Patriots offense, I think of small, safer passes that eat up defenses. While Brady and his crew will likely be making use of that strategy, the Texans will do a better job of wrapping up receivers sooner than most other clubs. They will also be putting plenty of pressure on Brady throughout the game. But the Pats will still find their way into the end zone a few times. And luckily for them, that is all they will need to move on to the AFC Championship game next week.
The winner of this game (Ok let’s just give the win to the Patriots already) will take on the winner of the Pittsburgh Steelers vs Kansas City Chiefs game. If the Patriots win, they will host that game. The Texans would have to go on the road no matter who wins the other game, as they are the lowest remaining seed.
Line: NE -16, O/U: 44.5
Prediction: Patriots 17 – Texans 6, Texans and the under