The Houston Texans (11-1) face what is almost certainly their toughest challenge of the year. The Texans head to New England to face the 9-3 Patriots. The game is a matchup between one of the best defences and one of the best offenses in the league.
The New England Patriots do not rank in the top five in total passing or rushing but their combined numbers give them the number one total offense in the NFL. New England’s potency comes from all-pro quarterback, Tom Brady and emerging second-year running back, Stevan Ridley. Ridley has already gone over 1,000 yards and his emergence has given the Patriots their first real ground-threat since Corey Dillon. Brady, already arguably the best quarterback over the past few years, has only been helped by Ridley. Defences can no longer sell-out on the pass, giving Brady more time in the po9cket and potential gaps in coverage.
The Texans bring the second-best overall defence to the party. Ranked third against the pass and fifth against the rush, Houston will need to close down the Patriots’ bevy of wide receivers. New England does not have a single pre-eminent receiving threat, with Brady preferring to spread the ball around a number of receivers. Tight-end and red-zone threat, Rob Gronkowski is still out, leaving wide receiver Wes Welker as the most likely scoring threat in the passing game. The Texans have struggled in recent weeks defending against the pass, whether the Texans can cover New England’s multiple receivers throughout the game is likely to decide the outcome.
When the teams switch around, it’s a completely different story. The Patriots are ranked 18 in total defence. They are relatively stout against the run but suffer in pass defence. New acquisition Aqib Talib is likely to be tasked with shutting down Houston wide receiver, Andre Johnson. Meanwhile, the Texans will be looking to get half back, Arian Foster going. Similar to New England, getting Foster going will take pressure off the Texans’ passing attack and give quarterback, Matt Schaub more time to throw.
The Texans are 3.5 to 4 point underdogs. The game can be seen in the USA on ESPN at 8:30 PM EST. It being the Monday night matchup, the game will be televised across the country. For viewers in other countries, the matchup can be seen on a number of streaming sites.
Where To Watch Online: Houston Texans at New England Patriots