New England Patriots vs Houston Texans: 5 Questions with Toro Times
By Nick Ziegler
On Saturday, the New England Patriots will be playing the Houston Texans. Josh McSwain of ToroTimes.com recently sat down with us to answer some questions.
For the second time this season, the New England Patriots will be playing the Houston Texans. In the first matchup, the Patriots were able to shut the Texans out by a score of 27-0. However, these are two very different teams since the first matchup.
In the first game, the Patriots were without quarterback Tom Brady. Jacoby Brissett did a good job filling in, but the Patriots are obviously a much better team with Brady under center.
Recently, we sat down with Josh McSwain of Toro Times to talk about the Texans. Here what Josh had to say about the Patriots’ first playoff opponent.
NZ: In the win against the Raiders, Brock Osweiler played fairly well. Do you think that was him turning the corner or just a product of a poor Raiders defense?
JM: I don’t mean to be a Negative Nathan here, but I do think that it was simply a product of facing a bad Raiders defense. All year Oakland was one of the worst teams in the league on defense and other than Khalil Mack they had nobody who really was an impact player. The Texans couldn’t get anything going on the ground yet still were able to win. It’s not like Osweiler lit it up—he was 14/15 for 168 yards and a touchdown. When that type of performance is praiseworthy, you have a problem.
NZ: Is the success of Lamar Miller on the ground the most important thing for the offense?
JM: At this point, I can’t say that there is anything more important than getting Miller going. If the run game doesn’t at least keep the Patriots honest then the Texans have no chance. One could argue that the Texans need to get the ball to DeAndre Hopkins and I would certainly agree, but if they try to force feed him the ball then it’s inevitable that there will be some interceptions. When Brock Osweiler starts to press and feel like he has to make plays, that’s where things go really bad.
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NZ: What changes do you think the Texans will make from the first meeting?
JM: Everything…okay maybe not everything but certainly taking care of the ball is paramount. Three turnovers were incredibly detrimental because the Texans got more yards and first downs than the Patriots in the game but could not get any points. Honestly, now is not the time to be cute. The Texans are going to need to take a couple shots deep if they want to win. Going with the typical Bill O’Brien play not to lose mentality will get them beat in this one. Without Gronk, I think the Texans will play a lot of one on one coverage and keep Blount from beating them. They also will likely have to bring extra guys to get a rush on Tom Brady, because pressure on opposing quarterbacks has been somewhat hit or miss this season. Both Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus have looked really good in the pass rush at times this season, but there were others where it seemed like opposing quarterbacks had all day to throw.
NZ: Do you think that being such a big underdog will create any extra motivation for the Texans this week?
JM: Extra motivation in the NFL playoffs? I highly doubt teams need it. But people have doubted the Texans all year (and a lot of times for good reason) and yet they are still here. The Texans already have an “us against the world” mentality so I doubt there will be anything else needed to motivate the Texans going into this game. Now whether they can actually back it up is another question entirely.
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NZ: What is you prediction and final score for the game?
JM: Honestly, I don’t give the Texans much of a chance in this one. I don’t think they will get shut out, but it won’t be close. Brock Osweiler will make a couple mistakes against a Bill Belichick defense that takes away what you do best. So that means Lamar Miller likely has another tough day, and Osweiler will have to make plays to beat the Pats. Now if DeAndre Hopkins can make a few plays and Will Fuller maybe gets deep once or twice then the Texans may have a shot. However, with the right side of the offensive line struggling so much I think the Pats will send extra pressure that way to prevent the deep passes. Now, Tom Brady obviously doesn’t have the threat of mobility that Brissett did in the first meeting but if the Texans cannot get pressure on Brady then it will be a long night. I think the Texans will keep it close for about a half, but then in the second the Patriots pull away.
Patriots 31, Texans 13
A big thanks to Josh for taking the time to sit down with us before the game on Saturday night. Make sure to check out his work on ToroTimes.com!