The Patriots opened the spread as 9.5-point favorites in Sunday's AFC Divisional Round matchup, and the line hasn't budged much from that spot. The Patriots defeated the Texans 42-14 in Week 14 and that, combined with the Texans' two game losing streak entering the playoffs, is enough for most members of the media to pick the Patriots to win.
Joel Thorman of SB Nation sees a slightly more competitive game than the last time these two teams met:
The last time these two teams played, it was T.J. Yates finishing the game. And that wasn't because Matt Schaub was hurt or because the Texans won big. It was because they were down five touchdowns. In what was supposed to be a battle of AFC powerhouses, the Patriots unloaded on the Texans, 42-14, in Week 14.
His pick: 35-20, Patriots.
CBS Sports was all over the Patriots' bandwagon as well, consistently picking New England across the board. But when it comes to gambling purposes, half the writers think it will be a close game, with four of the eight contributors saying the Texans will beat the spread.
All the Yahoo! Sports experts (as well as the users) picked the Patriots for the win as well. In fact, over at ESPN, Adam Schefter might be the lone man in the nation not drinking the New England juice with his faith in the Texans. As for the other 11 experts, Accuscore and Sportsnation at ESPN, all picked the Patriots.