I know that it sounds like every game these days is a big game but this one really is a big game. The New England Patriots (9-3) host the Houston Texans (11-1). These are the two most explosive offenses in the AFC. The Pats are +170 PF/PA and the Texans are +130 PF/PA. The Pats have the highest PF/PA in the NFL and the Texans are second highest in the AFC and third in the NFL (just behind San Francisco).
Brady and Schaub
What’s the breakdown here? The edge goes to Tom Brady when it comes to accuracy. The completion percentage is almost exactly the same but Brady had 25 TDS and 4 INTS, while Schaub has 21 and 9. Brady has passed for about 500 more yards overall. Also, in the area of rushing and pass receptions, they are evenly matched.
The Patriots will have to deal with the loss of tight end Rob Gronkowski’s absence, wide receiver Julian Edelman. But they still have wide out Wes Welker and tight end Aaron Hernandez.
I hate to say it but Houston holds the edge on defense in both stopping the passing and running game. J.J. Watt is the great stabilizer for the Houston defense, which is nursing a lot of injuries. Vince Wilfork is central to the Pats’ D.
The weather is rainy and damp in New England but the hometown fans should still be electric. The Patriots have a solid advantage when it comes to home games. The pats are at -5.5. That’s a tad better than the -3.0 that home teams get in even games. I think the weather could be a major factor. If the wind is swirling, it may affect the kicking game, which gives New England even more of an edge.
What’s at Stake
The Patriots and Texans have both clinched playoff spots but the Pats would also like a bye and home field. If they can beat Houston that will greatly aid them in both endeavors. Baltimore is 9-3. The Ravens beat the Pats earlier this year and that means if New England can go 10-3 with a win tonight, they will be closer to earning the bye and home field. Also, Denver is 10-3, which puts them in a tie with New England. However, the Patriots will have the advantage because they beat the Broncos earlier this season. This is a big game and I believe New England will win it 27-21.