New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans Pick 12/1/19
New England Patriots (10-1 SU, 7-4 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (7-4 SU, 5-6 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday, December 1st, 8:20 PM
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Point Spread: NE -3 / HOU +3 (SportBet - Offers Special Increased Parlay Odds! Best on Web!)
Over/Under Total: 44.5
In a matchup of familiar foes, the Houston Texans host the New England Patriots for a Sunday Night Football matchup of AFC division leaders. New England has won all five games since 2015 when Bill O’ Brien became the coach and have had the clear upper hand in the all-time series, leading 10-1 overall with their only loss coming back in the last week of the 2009 season when the Patriots were resting a majority of their starters.
HEAD OF THE PACK
Houston enters week 13 with a 7-4 record and a one-game lead in the AFC South over the Titans and Colts as they go for what would be their fourth divisional title in five years. A bye in the first round is within reach, but they would need a lot to fall their way, as the Texans are three games behind the Patriots and two behind the Ravens, a team they already lost to earlier this season and in doing so have the tiebreaker disadvantage. In terms of their AFC South chances, they already split their two games against the Colts and play the Titans twice in the final three weeks of the regular season.
THE WATSON WAY
In just his third year in the league, Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson has already established himself as one of the best at his position and is a big reason why the Texans find themselves in their prominent playoff position. He has already thrown for 2899 yards and 20 touchdowns while also rushing for five additional scores. When he is able to make plays with his feet, it has had a definite positive effect on the team of late, as they are 7-1 in their last eight regular-season games when he has four or more carries.
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Houston’s primary receiving threat remains DeAndre Hopkins, who is tied with Patriots Julian Edelman for second the league in targets with 112 and has 81 receptions for 839 yards and six touchdowns. Their 12th ranked passing offense got a boost with the return of big-play threat Will Fuller V, who celebrated his first game back with a seven catch, 140-yard performance against the Colts, and the team is now 8-0 in their last eight games when Fuller has four or more receptions. After those two remains, Kenny Stills, who hasn’t cleared four receptions in a game and hasn’t scored since week one, and tight end Darren Fells, who is tied for the team lead in touchdowns with six but has just one reception in each of their last three games. Fells career trends indicate his teams usually succeed when he is involved in the offense, as whoever he has played for is 10-0 in his past ten games when putting up three or more catches. Someone other than Hopkins will likely need to step up as he is expected to be blanketed by the best cornerback in the league Stephon Gilmore for a majority of the game.
After putting up 571 rushing yards over the past two seasons, Carlos Hyde has seen a rejuvenation in 2019 and is on pace for the most yards in his career with 836 so far along with a 4.8 yards per carry average and four scores on the ground. He has at least 58 yards or a touchdown in ten of their eleven games this season, and if he can find success against the Patriots, it will only open up things that much more for quarterback Deshaun Watson.
DOUBLE DIGIT DOMINANCE
With their victory last week against Dallas, the Patriots made it 17 straight seasons with double-digit wins and are currently in line for what would be their 11h consecutive AFC East division title. Their much-anticipated matchup against Kansas City awaits them following this week against the Texans, but after that, things get easier as they end with a road trip against the hapless Bengals followed by home games against the Dolphins and Bills.
The Patriots offense continued to run into issues against the Cowboys, getting into the end zone just once for the second straight week and now find themselves in the back half of the league in total offense at 17th. Tom Brady has done his best behind an injured and depraved offensive line and inconsistent and ever-changing receiving group. He is currently 21st in the league in quarterback rating, and 24th in completion percentage is putting up an average of 6.7 yards per pass, which is his lowest since 2002 and is on pace to throw the least amount of touchdown passes in a season since his first year starting in 2001. The Texans defense may have lost JJ Watt for the season to injury, but this week they get three back to their secondary in Lonnie Johnson, Bradley Roby, and Justin Reid, which could only add to Brady’s difficulty in reversing his current season struggles.
Brady will be especially rooting for the quick return of injury for Muhammad Sanu and Phillip Dorsett. At least can get some happiness out of the progress with rookie receivers N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Myers, with Harry scoring his first-ever touchdown against the Cowboys and Meyers getting the most targets (9) and yards in a game (74) so far this season. Brady’s clear favorite target remains Julian Edelman, who has double-digit targets in his past six games, totaling two touchdowns, 47 receptions, and 473 yards in the air with an additional touchdown pass as well in that period.
One particularly bright spot for the Patriots against Dallas was the play of Sony Michel, who may not have scored a touchdown but still looked better than he has for most of the year and posted his third-best yards per carry thus far in 2019. With 20 carries in the game and a victory for New England, that pushed the Patriots record to 17-1 when Michel gets fourteen or more carries. One surprising thing to see has been the recent near disappearance of James White from the Patriots offense, seeing just three touches against Dallas. In White’s first six games, he had 38 receptions, but in the past four has only 11, and with the return of Rex Burkhead from injury, that decline in stats may unfortunately continue. Many believe White should be a more prominent part of the offense but instead, suffer through the constantly confusing game plan and play calling of overrated coordinator Josh McDaniels.
THE FINAL DECISION
After starting the season 2-2, Houston has gone 5-2 in their last seven games with three of those victories against teams (Chiefs, Colts, Raiders) with a winning record. They have also played well of late at home, going 11-3 in their last fourteen games at NRG Stadium. While some label the Patriots as the worst 10-1 team ever; One thing they still have on their side is the advantage of head coach Bill Belichick, and that most notably seems to magnified when they play against his former assistant in Bill O’Brien. Despite the home field advantage and play of Deshaun Watson, I believe a Patriots defense that has allowed just eight offensive touchdowns all season and the leadership of Belichick on the sidelines will be enough to give New England the road win and cover at Houston on Sunday night.
Mike’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: New England -3. Did you know that you can teaser NFL games up to 19 points at BetAnySports?