By Greg Dempson
New England Patriots at Houston Texans
The New England Patriots are dealing with a rash of injuries and have lost back-to-back games for the first time since 2002, Tom Brady’s first season as their starter. The chances of them losing three in a row might rest on the shoulders of Rob Gronkowski, it is uncertain if “Gronk” will play tonight but he did make the team flight so I’m guessing he’ll be in the line-up.
It was turnovers and special teams’ play that did New England in last week as they held a large first down edge, 27–15 vs. the Eagles as well as a substantial edge in yards gained, 427 to 247. Philadelphia had 3 touchdowns that were non offensive.
Last week in their loss to Buffalo, the Bills were able to contain J. J. Watt as he was held sackless. I’m certain Belichick has watched that game tape numerous times. Watt will play tonight even though he broke his hand in practice on Wednesday.
If the Patriots can win tonight, not only will they clinch their seventh straight AFC East title, they will tie the Los Angeles Rams, (1973–1979,) for the longest streak in NFL history.
View From the 50 Yard Line
· The Patriots are 36–17 ATS vs. excellent passing teams averaging 260 or more passing yards per game.
· The Texans are 1–5 ATS vs. the Patriots.
· Coach Belichick is 18–06 in road games after allowing 150 or less passing yards in their last game.
· Coach Belichick is also 30–12 ATS vs. excellent passing teams averaging 260 or more passing yards per game.
· Sunday night home underdogs are 2–13 straight up and ATS when hosting a foe that lost straight up last week.
· After losing to the spread by 21 or more combined points in their last three conference games, play on road teams where the line is + or –3 points. This system is 58–24 = 71% ATS the past 10 seasons.
New England Patriots at Houston Texans Pick
My Every Edge Game of the Week is on the New England Patriots at –3 points.