This is probably the only game this weekend that pretty much everyone, outside of Houston, can agree on. The New England Patriots are coming into their divisional matchup with the Houston Texans favored by 15.5 points. This is a huge margin when it comes to any NFL game, especially a playoff game. New England has been the team we are so used to seeing this season. Finishing the season 14-2, with one of those losses coming during Tom Brady’s four-game suspension. The Texans however barely made the playoffs with a 9-7 record. The Texans are traveling to Foxborough and experts are expecting them to fall to Tom Brady and the Patriots. But what do the Texans need to do to pull off a massive upset?
Houston fans believed that they would become AFC contenders after adding Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller this past offseason. They quickly realized though that wasn’t the case when it came to Osweiler’s regular season performance and JJ Watt’s season-ending injury. Now, Osweiler did play better in their wild card matchup against the Oakland defense, which was terrible this regular season. But Osweiler and the 29th ranked Houston passing attack is going up against the 8th overall ranked defense in New England. IF Osweiler can refrain from turning over the ball and throw for at least 250 plus yards with a touchdown or two. That may allow Lamar Miller to have some running room. They will need Miller to break at least 100 yards on the ground. That will help with mixing up play calling and keeping the New England secondary on their heels. The Texans defense did surprise many after finishing the season ranked 1st in overall defense, considering they didn’t have Watt. Seeing Jadaveon Clowney finally show what he can do does slightly improve the Texans chances in this one. They will need their number 1 ranked defense to have, by far, their best game of the season. They must hold Brady to less than 300 passing yards, along with 2 Patriot turnovers. If they do this, then they have a very small chance of pulling off an incredible upset.
The New England Patriots have to refrain from beating themselves in this matchup. They have the clear statistical advantage on both sides of the ball. The only matchup that isn’t in their favor is their offensive line against that tough Texans front seven. The main thing that will help control that defensive front for Houston is the Patriots 8th ranked rushing attack. If they can run the ball decently against a defense that was ranked 12th against the run this season, then this game could get real ugly real fast. Brady holds the record for the most postseason victories at 21 and with how he is playing this season, it’s possible for a 22nd.
This is going to be a game that could be one of the biggest upsets in NFL playoff history considering the two teams seasons. The Texans could shock the world if they beat a team that is picked by many to not only make the super bowl but to win it. However, I don’t believe we will see that in this one. I predict that the New England Patriots will win easily by a score of 35-10. The Texans defense may make it interesting and tough on the Patriots and Brady in the first half. But Brady and his boys will make the adjustments and handle Houston. Moving them on to the AFC championship and possibly coming back to Houston for super bowl 51.