NFL AFC Divisional round pairs the Houston Texans against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. The 10-7 Texans moved on from the Wildcard round with a 27-14 home win over Oakland, while the top-seeded 14-2 Patriots are off a bye and have won their last seven games. This contest is Saturday, Jan 14, at 8:15 pm EST.
Vegas odds have the Patriots listed as 16.5 point favorites, while the total has been set at 44.5. This contest will be televised on CBS with a start time of 8:15 pm EST.
Breaking Down The Houston Texans
The Houston Texans had all sorts of issues at the QB spot this year, but they did win their division and here they are in the divisional round of the playoffs. They are huge dogs in this game, but at least they are here and in their last game Brock Osweiler finally looked like the guy they paid a ton of money to lure away from Denver. He was benched down the stretch but was back in action for their playoff game vs the Raiders due to an injury to Tom Savage. Osweiler threw for 168 yards with a TD and no INTs. He posted a QBR of 90.1 in that game, which is far better than the 72.2 QBR that he had for the year. They will need him to have a good game, but he will be facing a far better defense in this one than the one he faced last week. The Texans will need to rely on Lamar Miller at RB as well and he had 73 yards and a TD vs the Raiders. Houston ranked 29th in total offense, 29th in passing, 8th in rushing and 29th in scoring at 17.4 ppg during the regular season. The defense is what led this team and it will have to be at the top of its game vs a very good New England offense. The Texans allowed just 203 yards of total offense to the Raiders, but they were facing a 3rd string QB in that game and Brady is anything but that. During the regular season, the Texans ranked 1st in total defense, 2nd vs the pass, 12th vs the run and 11th in points allowed, giving up just 20.5.
Trends: The Texans have gone 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing less than 150 yards passing in their previous game, but just 4-11-1 ATS in their last 16 games on fieldturf and 0-5 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Under is 5-1 in their last 6 games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game and 5-1 in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Breaking Down The New England Patriots
The New England Patriots have the number 1 seed in the AFC after going 14-2 on the year and winning another division title. This is a team that had to play their first four games of the year without Tom Brady, but weathered that storm on their way to the league’s best record. They have won their last seven games in a row and have outscored their last three opponents by 24 ppg. The Patriots have gone 6-2 at home and one of their home wins was a 27-0 win over Houston, which came earlier in the year, when Brady was on suspension. What will they do in this game with him? Brady had an incredible year as he threw for 3554 yards with 28 TDs and just two INTs. The yards aren’t there overall, but remember he did miss 4 games. His QBR of 112.2 was 2nd in the league. During the regular season, the Pats ranked 4th in total offense, 4th in passing, 7th in rushing and 3rd in scoring, putting up 27.6 ppg. The Pats are not all about offense, as their defense has been very solid this year and it could very well have a good game vs a Houston offense that just hasn’t been that good this year. The Pat ranked 8th in total defense, 12th vs the pass, 3rd vs the run and 1st in points allowed, giving up just 15.6 ppg. The Pats are missing Gronk for the playoffs and one has to wonder if his loss will hurt them at all
Trends: The Patriots have gone 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game and 24-9-2 ATS in their last 35 home games. The Over is 6-1-1 in their last 8 Saturday games and 12-5 in their last 17 games in January.
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