Upcoming Match-ups

NFL Betting – Can Pats Survive Another QB Change vs. Hou?

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in NFL Football

Sep 19, 2016 · 4:34 PM PDT

Houston Texans (-2.5) at New England Patriots 

The New England Patriots (2-0, 1-0 home) were cruising through Tom Brady’s four-game suspension. Midway through Week 2, they found themselves up 24-0 on Miami, and already had an upset over Arizona tucked under their belt. Then something akin to disaster struck: Brady’s stand-in, Jimmy Garoppolo, exited the game with a shoulder injury, turning the reins over to third-stringer rookie Jacoby Brissett.

Now Brissett is slated to get the start when the Pats host the surging Houston Texans (2-0, 0-0 away) at Foxborough on Thursday Night Football (8:30 PM Eastern).

Garoppolo was on fire before he went down, going 18 of 27 for 234 yards and three touchdowns. And he was doing that without TE Rob Gronkowski. The Pats hung on for the win (31-24) but the offense was a shell of itself when Brissett came in. His stat line looks fine – 6 of 9 for 92 yards – but he wasn’t asked to throw the ball more than five yards down field.

Such a limited approach isn’t going to fly against the Texans and their slew of defensive playmakers. JJ Watt and company powered Houston to its second win of the season against KC on Sunday, getting a measure of revenge for last year’s playoff blowout in the process. The Texans registered four sacks on the day and recovered three fumbles, putting the offense in good spots all day.

Brock Osweiler didn’t have a banner day (19 of 33 for 268 yards, one TD, two picks) but he did find DeAndre Hopkins for a 27-yard major in the first quarter. Four Nick Novak field goals were enough for the defense as Houston hung on for a 19-12 win.

Osweiler may have similar struggles against the Pats. New England’s D contained Carson Palmer and the high-powered Arizona passing game in Week 1, and were completely shutting down Ryan Tannehill in Week 2 until the QB started making pin-point throws into tight windows.

Osweiler has yet to show that kind of accuracy in his short NFL career.

In all likelihood, both teams are going to want to establish the run on Thursday. Houston has been giving RB Lamar Miller about 30 touches per game so far, while New England won’t trust the offense to Brissett’s arm; they’ll look to LaGarrette Blount (123 rushing yards on 29 carries in Week 2) to have another big day.

Mark my words: this is the only time this season you’ll see the Patriots as a home ‘dog. There’s a reason they haven’t missed a beat with Garoppolo under center, and it’s not because of the QB’s innate skill set. This roster is incredibly deep; the coaching staff is the best of the best; and the home-field advantage of Gillette Stadium is extremely real. I see the Pats’ D giving Osweiler fits and containing Miller, while Bill Belichick crafts a JV-level dink-and-dunk game plan for Brissett that musters just enough for a W.

Pick: Patriots (+2.5).


Photo credit: Keith Allison [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

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