Line: Patriots -3

The 10-2 New England Patriots travel to Houston to take on the 6-6 Texans in this week’s Sunday night matchup with both teams coming off disappointing losses. The Patriots lost at home for the first time this year 35-28 to the Philadelphia Eagles. This was the Patriots second loss in a row as they were beaten in overtime by the Broncos in week 12. The Texans lost to the Bills in Buffalo 30-21. This loss snapped their 4 game win streak and it was the first time in 5 games they allowed an opposing team to score more than 17 points.

The Patriots played inconsistently on offense and struggled with their special team’s defense in last week’s loss. Tom Brady finished with a quarterback rating of 36.2 as he completed 29 of 56 passes for 312 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was also intercepted twice and one of those were returned for a touchdown. The offensive line didn’t help as they allowed him to be sacked 4 times for a loss of 24 yards. Brady has now been sacked 7 times the last 2 games. James White was his favorite target as he caught 10 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. LeGarrette Blount led a balanced run game with 54 yards on 13 carries. Special teams played poorly as they were responsible for two Eagles touchdowns. Philadelphia blocked a punt late in the second quarter and returned it for a touchdown and Darren Sproles returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown in the 3rd quarter. Overall, they gave up 35 points and were only able to sack Sam Bradford once. The defensive line had some issues stopping the run as Philadelphia gained 128 yards on 33 carries.

During their 4 game win streak the Texans allowed only gave up an average of 9 points per game but allowed Buffalo to score 30 last week. They had difficulty stopping the run as the Bills gained 187 yards on 36 carries including 112 from LeSean McCoy. Tyrod Taylor completed touchdown passes to 3 different receivers and finished the game with a quarterback rating of 127.2. They were only able to sack Taylor once and had 3 tackles for losses. Offensively, they gained over 400 yards and Brian Hoyer played well as he completed 26 of 43 passes for 293 yards with 3 touchdowns. He was also sacked twice and did throw an interception. His favorite target was Cecil Shorts III who had 6 catches for 91 yards. Deandre Hopkins also had a nice game as he caught 5 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown.

The Patriots are 5-4-3 against the spread this year including 2-3 on the road. The Texans are 6-6 against the spread this year including 4-2 at home. The Patriots will be without Rob Gronkowski again this week as he is out with a knee injury and his production will be very difficult to duplicate. The Texans are small underdogs in this matchup but already have a win against a 10-2 team this year when they defeated the Bengals in week 10 which was the Bengals first loss of the year.

Pick: Patriots -3

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