Sunday Night Football: Week 13 Preview, NE at HOU

Sunday Night Football on NBC is going to be… interesting. A game that the casual fan might think will be a high-scoring affair is more likely to be fairly dull. Don’t get me wrong, there are some of the league’s most exciting players playing tonight! But, the matchup dictates a low-scoring game.

New England Patriots at Houston Texans

NRG Stadium

Houston, TX

Betting

So tonight on Sunday Night Football we have the leagues best defense facing one of the better offenses, and one of the leagues worst defenses facing a shell of a QB. At the time of writing, my only action is on the UNDER 46.5 (-110). Neither team has been lighting up the scoreboard as of late and I can see the Patriots holding the Texans to less than 20 points tonight. Keep an eye on the injury report before deciding on spread/win bets though because nearly every Patriot is listed as questionable. Without knowing who is and isn’t going to play, I suppose I’ll take Texans +3.5 (-115) but I don’t love it. Again, I’m not liking the spread or outright win numbers for this game so I’ll be staying away. To make up for it, I’ll give a couple of prop bet picks! Some books have Michele OVER 8.5 receiving yards at -105 and I’ll take that. Michele isn’t the most reliable pass-catcher out of the backfield but with the teams’ health in question, he can easily be on the field to catch a couple of screens. The same can be said for White OVER 14.5 rushing yards.

Injuries

The Texans offense is looking good but their defense will be without Carlos Watkins and potentially the trio of Angelo Blackson, Brennan Scarlet, and Gareon Conley

So there’s this good news. But then…

That’s right, a ton of Patriots are sick in addition to the normal wear and tear from playing in the NFL. We could see the Patriots having to rotate depth guys quite regularly tonight in order to preserve the sick guys for big moments late in the game.

Also, how do the Patriots have TWO team planes?!

Texans Offense vs. Patriots Defense

When you have Deshaun Watson throwing the ball to DeAndre Hopkins, you have a chance to win any game. Both guys are Top-5 at their respective positions and are consistent problems for defenses. The issue for Sunday Night Football tonight is that Stephon Gilmore, who is questionable, will likely be in charge of shutting down Hopkins. Gilmore is one of the better corners in the NFL and has had success against top-guys in the past. Keep in mind that Jason McCourty is already ruled OUT for this game. That opens up half the field against the league’s best defense. Typically used as deep-threats, Kenny Stills and Will Fuller are going to have to draw attention away from Hopkins. If they can simply force the deep safties to watch them on their breaks, one of the three TE’s should be able to work in the middle of the field. Once again, the Patriots’ health will be the ultimate deciding factor in this one.

DeAndre Hopkins via Jeffrey Beall for Sunday Night Football
DeAndre Hopkins via Jeffrey Beall

Patriots Offense vs. Texans Defense

The big story here is the decline of Tom Brady. Widely considered the “GOAT” of NFL QB’s, Brady is looking like Peyton Manning circa 2015 out there. If we want to defend the play of Brady, he is playing with the worst supporting crew of his career. All in all, Brady is a long way from being the guy to go throw 3 TD’s and 300 yards. The game plan is rather simple if you look at broadly, give the ball to Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead or throw it to Julian Edelman and James White. The addition of Mo Sanu has created space for those guys but I believe Phillip Dorsett has been the biggest beneficiary. Dorsett has been scoring a TD every other game this year (don’t expect one tonight) and is a go-to guy for Brady in key situations. This, of course, is a key matchup to watch tonight as the Texans secondary has been one of the worst in the NFL. The combination of Jonathan Joseph and Bradley Roby are struggling to keep guys in check.

Tom Brady via Jeffrey Beall for Sunday Night Football
Tom Brady via Jeffrey Beall

Predictions

Patriots: 17

Texans: 14

Guaranteed Touchdown Scorer: DeAndre Hopkins

Dart Throw Touchdown Scorer: N’Keal Harry

Best Fantasy QB: Deshaun Watson

Best Fantasy RB: James White

James White via Jeffrey Beall for Sunday Night Football
James White via Jeffrey Beall

Best Fantasy WR: DeAndre Hopkins

Best Fantasy TE: Jordan Akins

Best Fantasy D/ST: Patriots

Conclusion

Despite the illness running through the Patriots locker room, I still think they pull out the victory in Houston? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! Also, check out the shop and other content by clicking here.

-Mitchell Seefeldt

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