NFL Sunday Night Football Preview

The Patriots appear to be a bargain as three-point road favorites, as they’ll take on the Texans on Sunday night at NRG Stadium.

New England Patriots at Houston Texans, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

TeamSpreadMoneylineTotal
New England Patriots-3 (-119)-180O 45 (-115)
Houston Texans+3 (-101)+145U 45 (-105)

New England’s defense is scary good

New England’s defense is clearly the best in the league and might be the best unit Bill Belichick has ever had during his illustrious tenure in Foxboro. The Pats are allowing just 10.6 points per game and have surrendered more than 14 only once in 2019. Preventing the pass is their specialty, as they give up just 157.7 yards per game through the air. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore will make life extremely difficult for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Houston’s best playmaker by a wide margin, throughout this tilt.

The Patriots’ pass rush, fifth in the NFL with 37 sacks through Week 12, should have a field day against the Texans’ 20th-ranked offensive line (33 sacks allowed). Quarterback Deshaun Watson will have to hope running back Carlos Hyde can keep New England’s defense honest, otherwise he’ll be on his back early and often.

Brady should thrive against the Texans

New England’s offense has been scuffling, with an average of just 19.3 points over its last four games, but it has a fairly easy matchup with a Houston defense that is 17th in scoring (22.6 points allowed per game) and 24th in yards allowed per play (5.9). Patriots quarterback Tom Brady should have plenty of time to go through his progressions, as the Texans are a woeful 29th in sacks this season (22). Brady has gone down just 19 times through 11 games, the fifth-best mark in the NFL.

The trends are decidedly on the Pats side. They’re 11-4 against the spread in their last 15 games and 13-5 ATS in their last 18 road games against teams with winning records. They’ve also covered in eight of their last 10 games against Houston. The Texans have failed to cover in five of their last six at home.

Pick: Patriots -3


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