NFL Sunday Preview: New England Patriots at Houston Texans [Play the Hotter, Well-Coached Favourite]

NFL Nov 20, 2020

The New England Patriots are set to take on the Houston Texans in what is sure to be an intriguing game.  New England is coming off a big win against Baltimore, while the Texans are coming off a victory over the Cleveland Browns.

Patriots able to stymie Baltimore Ravens

New England was able to defeat the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, as rain and wind were a problem for both teams the entire night.  Cam Newton had a solid game, going 13-of-17 on the afternoon, throwing for 118 yards and a touchdown.

Damien Harris was perhaps the biggest story of the night, carrying the ball 22 times for 121 yards and a touchdown.  He helped pace the New England rushing attack.

In terms of receiving, Jakobi Meyers was the leading receiver in this game, catching five passes for 59 yards, averaging 11.8 yards per reception. Running back Rex Burkhead did his part as well, catching four passes for 35 yards and two touchdowns.  New England did not feature a high-powered offence in this game, but they still managed to get the job done.

Houston ekes out win against Browns

For Houston, they battled out a win against the Browns.  It wasn’t pretty, but they managed to get the job done.  In that way, it was similar to New England’s game. Quarterback Deshaun Watson went 20-of-30 on the afternoon, throwing for 163 yards and a touchdown.  He also rushed the ball eight times for 36 yards.

The passing game was the star of the show in this one, as Randall Cobb led all receivers with three catches for 41 yards.  However, Pharaoh Brown caught the lone touchdown for Houston on the day, and the combination of both a solid rushing attack and the passing game was enough to defeat Cleveland.

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New England wins if….

If New England wants to win this game, they have to give the ball to their two playmakers.  Harris and Meyers have both shown that they can perform at a high level consistently and they’ll need to do that again on Sunday.  There was this thinking going around that Meyers is to Newton what Julian Edelman used to be to Tom Brady.  I can certainly see that in terms of how often Newton looks for Meyers.

Houston wins if….

If Houston wants to win this game, they’ll need to put constant pressure on Newton.  Newton does have mobility, but he makes less accurate throws when he is hurried.  Houston ranks in the middle of the National Football League with 19 sacks per contest.  If they can get pressure on Newton and clog the running lanes, this could be a game that tilts in Houston’s favor.  New England has built their game plan around the rushing attack, and that has worked for them over the past couple of games.

Phot Credit: USA Today/Patriots Wire

Betting Prediction

I  feel comfortable betting money in favour of New England at -2.5.  Winning two games in a row, Cam Newton has gotten back into his groove, and looks comfortable in the offence again.

Houston does have a defence that is especially capable of stopping the run, but New England is known for their versatile play calling.  I don’t see them winning easily, but I do see them doing just enough to scrape by.  The running game will probably be prominent once again for the Patriots.  As a result, sticking to the game plan should work for New England.

Prediction:  Patriots (-2.5)  24 – 20  Texans


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