This match between Patriots and Texans doesn’t have the same prominence it has in years past, but there’s still plenty at stake during Sunday’s head-to-head in Houston, especially for Bill Belichick’s club. New England will start this game at 4-5 and want to get back to 0.500 for the first time since week 4 and that much closer to making a playoff push. They end up in this game after an upset victory over the Baltimore Ravens in a rainy Gillette Stadium on Sunday Night Football.
As for the Texans, it has been a lost year for Deshaun Watson. The club kicked former Bill Belichick student Bill O’Brien to the sidewalk and are on their way to this match at 2-7. While the coaching connection between Belichick and O’Brien has been cut from this match, former Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennell serves as Texans’ interim head coach. The last time-out, Houston didn’t get the lead over Cleveland, just fell short and lost to the Browns 10-7.
Andrew Catalon, James Lofton and AJ Ross are in talks as New England tries to stay on the hunt for the postseason and Texans try to get their third win of the year.
How to watch
Date:Sunday,November 22 |Time:1 p.m. ET
Place:NRG Stadium (Houston, TX)
TV:CBS |Flow:CBS All Access
To follow:CBS Sports app
New England is trying to carry the momentum of back-to-back victories to push itself over the Texans in this matchup. During that two-game winning streak (the longest of the season), Cam Newton made a noticeable improvement as a passer, completing nearly 77% of his throws while making zero turns. He has yet to really uncork his arm, but the veteran is doing just enough through the air to keep the New England urges alive, while also not shooting themselves in the foot with a turnover. While Newton pilots the ship, the attack was recently carried by a youth movement headed recipient Jakobi Meyers, who brought back Damien Harris. Since jumping to a starter, Meyers has built quite a bond with Newton, catching 23 passes for 286 yards over three games. He also flashed his arm and completed a 24-yard pass to Rex Burkhead in the win over Baltimore last week. With injuries derailing Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry’s involvement in the attack, this Meyers escape couldn’t have come at a better time for Josh McDaniels.
While Meyers helps move the passing game, the Patriots have embraced a running identity, and that’s where Harris and Newton have dominated. Harris recorded his third 100-yard outing against Baltimore last week, a career-high total of 121 rushing yards at 5.5 yards per carry. Newton was a hasty threat in the red zone in the first place, scoring nine touchdowns during week 11. This will be a major focus of Sunday’s game with Houston as the Texans have the worst defense in the entire NFL.
As for Deshaun Watson, the Texan quarterback has shown off his brilliance a number of times, but the talent just isn’t around him for Houston to make a significant impact. Their two wins in the season came against the Jaguars and are 0-6 against every other opponent this year. When you disregard Jacksonville, arguably the worst or second-worst team in the NFL, Texan’s defense allows 33.8 points per game. The defense has also struggled to create momentum games for Watson and the offense, with just five takeaways this season, which is the least in the NFL.
The Patriots should get away with this game thanks to Houston’s weaknesses playing directly into New Engalnd’s strengths. Cam Newton and Damien Harris should continue to have massive success on the ground against a hideous Texas defense, allowing the Browns to reach a total of 231 yards on the ground at 5.6 yards per carry in Week 10. That ground game will help New England control time. of ball possession and creating opportunities for Newton to throw the ball out of play – action or an RPO. Click here for what the rest of our CBS Sports experts think.
Score: New England 23, Houston 20
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