NFL Divisional Round Preview: Houston at New England

Photo Credit: Brett Coomer

Divisional Round

#4 Houston Texans (9-7) at #1 New England Patriots (14-2)

Foxborough, Massachusetts (Gillette Stadium)

January 14th, 5:15 PM (PST)

CBS

New England is going to win this game. The only question is, by how much? The Patriots opened up the week as 16 point favorites, which is the 4th largest spread in NFL playoff history according to Pro Football Reference. Like I mentioned in my Raiders-Texans Preview, the winner of that game would definitely lose the following week (Vegas agrees with me).

New England ranks 3rd in the NFL in points per game (27.6) and boasts the top-ranked defense in the NFL (15.6 ppg).

The Texans rank 11th in points against (20.5) and have the 28th ranked offense, managing only 17.4 points per game. Their defense, however, is much better than their 11th ranking suggests. The Texans points against are inflated by Brock Osweiler’s many turnovers. A statistic that’s more representative of their defensive prowess is yards against, in which they rank 1st, allowing 301.3 yards per game. They’re a top defense, and in my opinion, they’re slightly better than New England in this facet of the game.

Houston’s offense deserves their 28th ranking. Brock Osweiler’s regular season (16 INT, 15 TD) showed that he doesn’t move the ball well and is likely to have a multiple turnover game, especially because he’ll be facing a strong Patriots defense on the road.

New England beat Houston 27-0 in week three without Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo when they had to start 3rd string QB Jacoby Brissett. Just imagine what New England will do to Houston with Brady.

Highlights from 27-0 blowout early in the year

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SttrmVggphs

Here are some things New England does better than Houston that will make this game a blowout:

  • New England has the better quarterback
  • Home field advantage
  • Playoff experience
  • 14 regular season wins vs. Nine
  • 3rd ranked offense vs. 28th
  • Better Head Coach
  • Better coaching staff
  • Bye week before game
  • Better skill players
  • New England +12 turnover ratio vs Houston’s -7
  • New England beat them 27-0 in Week 3 with their 3rd string QB

The list goes on, but I’ll stop there.

Prediction

As mentioned above, nothing is in Houston’s favor and I don’t expect the final score line to be close. I think Houston will play inspired football on defense and keep the game close initially, but New England will ultimately dominate and win in a blowout.

New England 31 Houston 10

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