New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans
Sunday – December 13 – 7:30 pm CT
NRG Stadium – Houston, Texas
Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien will glance across the field this Sunday night and see the man he owes a lot to in New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. For six years, O’Brien ascended in the Patriots organization. In 2006, Belichick hired him as a quality control assistant. When he left to become the head coach at Penn State in 2012, he carried the title of offensive coordinator.
Student versus teacher will be on display when the Texans (6-6) host the Patriots (10-2) on Sunday night in NRG Stadium. This should be an interesting matchup as the Texans are riding the high of a four game winning streak. The Patriots on the other hand have lost two straight games, something that hasn’t happened since 2012. You would have to go all the way back to Tom Brady’s first season as the full time starting quarterback to find a trio of consecutive losses.
This game will not be featuring the teams at full strength. The Patriots are without Brady’s safety blanket, receiver Julian Edelman, who is out with a broken foot. Although he practiced in a limited role this week, All Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski is hobbled with a right knee injury and is probable for the game. In practice on Wednesday the league leader in sacks, defensive end J.J. Watt, broke his left hand. Watt said he will play Sunday night with a cast to help protect the hand.
After starting the season off 10-0, two losses now have the Patriots reeling for a win. The injuries offensively will be an obstacle as they take on an aggressive Texans defense. Former Patriot, nose guard Vince Wilfork, signed with the Texans this past offseason after 11 years with the Patriots. Wilfork jokingly said this week that he is looking forward to sacking long time teammate Tom Brady.
The Texans offensively have slowly come together as the season has progressed. Things won’t come easy for that unit as well after two lackluster performances by a Patriot defense. You can expect defensive coordinator Romeo Crennell to bring consistent pressure at Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer.
Prediction: Patriots 20 – Texans 17