Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon
With two great, play-making receivers on the roster, and QB Brock Osweilier now throwing a good deep ball out of nowhere, it would not be surprising if the Texans offense dials up the deep ball multiple times during the game. Not only will both Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon be important in the middle of the field, but they may also be called upon as well as Patrick Chung to help cover TE CJ Fiedorowicz. He may not be a threat as a receiver, but taking away more options from Osweiler will allow the Patriots pass rush to get home.
Players to Watch
As stated earlier, The Patriots are going to try to eliminate Hopkins as an option, meaning Osweiler will likely look Fuller’s way. Depending on who is across from Fuller, whether it is Butler or Justin Coleman, this could ultimately be one of the most important matchups for the Patriots defense.
Interesting Stat: According to Pro Football Focus, Will Fuller has been targeted 10 times 20+ yards downfield, the most by any WR in the league through two weeks.
With majority of the offensive gameplan surrounding neutralizing Watt as usual, this may open things up for Clowney, who has increasingly become effective at rushing the passer. Watt can line up anywhere on the line, so they need to recognize where he is, but they also need to identify where Clowney will be and how their blocking assignments will change. There has been progress along the line since Dante Scarnecchia has returned, so it will be intriguing to see how they responds.