Houston Texans at New England Patriots
Thursday, September 22, 2016, 8:25 pm Eastern, TV: CBS, NFL Network
Gillette Stadium – Foxborough, Massachusetts
Opening Line: Houston -1 1/2
Current Line: Houston -1 1/2
Opening Total: 41
Current Total: 40 1/2
Opening Money Line: Texans -135 / Patriots +115
Current Money Line: Texans -115 / Patriots -105
For only the third time since 2006 the New England Patriots are home underdogs as they host the Houston Texans Thursday night. Both teams are 2-0 this season. The Patriots lead the series 6-1 all-time against the Texans. New England has won 4 straight games against Houston including 27-6 last season in Texas.
So why the Patriots underdogs at home under coach Bill Belichick? Well, quarterback Tom Brady is serving the third game of a four game suspension for the well publicized Deflategate incident. Jimmy Garoppolo has done well as his replacement but suffered a shoulder injury in New England’s 31-24 home win over the Miami Dolphins last Sunday. He is doubtful Thursday night. The Patriots will likely start rookie Jacoby Brissett who came in relief of Garoppolo last week. Interestingly, receiver Julian Edelman will likely serve as the back-up quarterback if something happens to Brissett.
Houston is coached by Bill O’Brien. The Texans have home wins over the Chicago Bears 23-14 and Kansas City Chiefs 19-12 last week. The Texans took a 13-3 lead into halftime and held on for the seven point win as the teams combined for five fourth quarter field goals. The Texans were one point underdogs at home against the Chiefs and the total was 41.5. Houston is 2-0 ATS and both games have gone under the total.
New England upset the Arizona Cardinals in week one 23-21 on the road. Last week, the Patriots jumped out to a 24-0 lead before the Garoppolo injury. They led 31-3 midway through the third but had to hold on win by 7 points. The normally reliable Stephen Gostkowski missed a 39 yard field that would have iced the game. The Dolphins drove down to the Patriots’ 29 yard line but an interception in the end zone ended the game. The Patriots were 5.5 point favorites against the Dolphins and the total was 42. New England is 2-0 ATS and the total is 1-1 this season.
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Houston is out scoring teams 21-13 this season. The Texans average 348 yards per game on offense including 235 passing and 113 rushing. Houston allows 275 yards per game on defense including 179 passing and 96 rushing yards. The Texans are #3 in total, passing and scoring defense. Houston is 17/36 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 7/29. The Texans have forced 9 sacks and allowed 4 this season. Houston is +1 in turnovers.
Quarterback Brock Osweiler has completed 41/68 passes (60.3%) for 499 yards with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, along with 6 carries for 11 yards. Running back Lamar Miller has 53 carries for 189 yards, along with 6 catches for 25 yards. Alfred Blue will also get some carries. Receiver Will Fuller has 9 catches for 211 yards and a touchdown. DeAndre Hopkins has 12 catches for 167 yards and 2 touchdowns. Five defensive players and four offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.
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The Patriots are outscoring opponents 27-23 this season. New England averages 414 yards per game on offense including 281 passing and 134 rushing yards. The Patriots are allowing 402 yards per game on defense including 321 passing and 81 rushing yards. The Patriots are 17/30 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 11/23. New England has forced 4 sacks and allowed 3 this season. The Patriots are +1 in turnovers.
Garoppolo has completed 42/59 passes (71.2%) for 496 yards and 4 touchdowns, and also has 4 carries for 12 yards. Brissett completed 6 of 9 passes for 70 yards against the Dolphins and had 4 carries for 12 yards.
Running back LaGarrette Blount has 51 carries for 193 yards and 2 touchdowns. James White will also get some carries but has 7 catches for 50 yards.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski has missed the first two games with a hamstring injury and is questionable Thursday. Edelman has 14 catches for 142 yards and 3 carries for 16 yards. Tight end Martellus Bennett has 8 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown. Chris Hogan has 7 catches for 119 yards and a touchdown. Danny Amendola has 7 catches for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns. Five defensive players and three offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.
Houston is 5-1 ATS overall, 4-1 after a straight up win, after a cover, and against AFC teams, 16-4-1 after gaining 350 total yards or more, 5-2 after allowing 15 points or less, 2-6 in week #3, 3-9-1 on field turf, and 0-6 in Thursday games. The over is 6-1 in this series. The favorite is 4-1-1 ATS in this series recently.
New England is 4-0 ATS in September, 5-1-1 after scoring 30 points or more, 4-1 after allowing more than 350 yards, 9-3-2 after allowing 250 passing yards or more, 19-7-2 at home, 8-3-1 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, 35-17-4 against teams with winning records, and 1-5-2 against teams with winning records. The home team is 5-1-1 ATS in this series recently. The Patriots are 4-1-1 ATS in this series recently.
Brissett will just be asked to play within the system, and he should be fine. Expect the Texans to bring a ton of pressure to try and rattle the rookie quarterback. I don’t care how many injuries they have, it is not smart to bet against Belichick. The Patriots find a way to win a low scoring game.