Patriots vs. Texans: A Few Brief Thoughts
By Cyrus Geller
Here are a few brief thoughts on this week’s Patriots vs. Texans matchup as we turn the page on New England’s horrendous loss to the Eagles.
1. Tough Defense
After a slow start, Houston has bounced back nicely on the defensive side of the ball, as they now rank 7th in total defense, 3rd against the pass, 14th in scoring, and 13th in sacks per game. Their front seven is legit, and while their secondary isn’t nearly as talented as the big boys up front, they have been playing very well as of late. For a Patriots offense that is reeling because of injuries, this will be another tough test.
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2. Offense Better Than Many Think
The Texans’s offense isn’t the 2007 Patriots by any stretch of the imagination, but they have quietly been getting the job done as of late. They are 13th in total offense, and 11th in passing. However they are a measly 22nd in scoring, and when you play the Patriots, even this injury depleted version, you have to score points to win. Malcolm Butler vs. DeAndre Hopkins should be a great matchup.
3. Quarterback Play
Houston had a bit of quarterback controversy brewing early in the season, but Brian Hoyer has now seized the number one job, and he has played fairly well in Bill O’Brien‘s offense. Hoyer has a decent TD:INT ratio, as he has thrown 18 touchdowns, and only six picks. Of course he also has the luxury of throwing it up to Hopkins every other play, so if the Pats can contain Hopkins, this offense will sputter.
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4. Patriots Connections
There are a ton of Patriots connections on this team, starting with the head coach Bill O’Brien who was the offensive coordinator in Foxboro for a number of years. Brian Hoyer also spent time in New England, as did defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, linebackers coach Mike Vrabel, and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.
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5. Big Game For Texans
Houston is currently tied for first in their division with the Colts, and since both teams are 6-6, it’s either division or bust for them in regards to the postseason. Neither of these two teams will be able to get a wild-card, so they are going to have to win the division in order to get into the playoffs. Getting a win over the Patriots would be huge for the Texans as they try to dethrone the Colts as the division champs.