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Pro Football Focus Previews Texans-Patriots On Sunday Night Football

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The Houston Texans and New England Patriots take center stage on Sunday night. Take a look at PFF's preview and analysis before the two teams square off in prime time at NRG Stadium.

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Cushing is not a PFF darling these days.
Cushing is not a PFF darling these days.
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Focus has their preview of this week's Sunday Night Football game between your Houston Texans and the defending champions up and ready for your review.  Although you may take exception with some of PFF's data and conclusions, you may also find a thing or two you hadn't thought about before. Enjoy and chime in via the Comments.

Texans Overview:

· Here’s our game analysis for Houston’s Week 13 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

· DeAndre Hopkins dropped to seventh in the wide receiver ratings with a +17.0 overall rating. Hopkins is the only positively graded receiver on the Texans roster, and Houston QB’s have thrown 10 TDs and 3 INTs when targeting Hopkins.

· Houston’s tight ends have struggled as all three have negative pass-catching ratings. Garrett Graham ranks 63rd out of 69 tight ends (minimum 25% of the snaps) with a -10.4 overall rating, but he has the worst pass-catching grade at -8.5.

· Jadeveon Clowney (+17.7 overall) and Whitney Mercilus (+17.6 overall) rank 9th and 10th respectively in 3-4 OLB rankings. Mercilus is tied for third with 26 stops along with Elvis Dumervil.

· J.J. Watt is the highest-rated player in the NFL, offense or defense, by PFF with a +63.9 overall rating. Watt has recorded 45 stops, 29 QB hits, 26 QB hurries and 13 sacks. He has the best pass rush productivity rating at 12.2 for 3-4 defensive ends, while ranking seventh with a run stop percentage of 9.5.

· Brian Cushing has posted a -8.0 overall grade, with an identical -3.7 pass rush rating and a -3.7 pass coverage rating. He’s allowed 26-of-31 targets for 259 yards, including 210 yards after the catch and an NFL rating of 101.5.

Many Texans fans thought Brian Cushing had been playing markedly better over the last month and a half. PFF clearly disagrees. Is this a case of the eye test winning out and the data missing what's really happening?

Patriots Overview:

· Here’s a look back at New England’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

· Check out where Tom Brady ranks amongst the top performing quarterbacks to date per PFF.

· Tom Brady ranks a PFF’s second-overall quarterback with a +46.1 rating. He’s the third-most accurate QB per PFF with an accuracy percentage 78.6% on his 507 attempts.

· Rob Gronkowski, who may return from a knee injury, leads all tight ends with a +21.3 overall rating (+14.6 pass rating, +8.2 run block rating). He leads all tight ends with 931 yards, 16.3 yards per reception, and 440 yards after catch.

· Josh Kline is the only positively-graded offensive lineman for the Patriots with a +5.5 overall rating. Meanwhile, Shaquille Mason (-13.2), Cameron Fleming (-13.1) and Marcus Cannon (-10.0) are three of the worst-rated for New England.

· Jabaal Sheard (+18.6 overall) and Chandler Jones (+13.1 overall) lead the defensive line for the Patriots. Jones paves the way with 11 sacks, 37 hurries and 25 stops.

· On the back end, Logan Ryan (+10.7 overall), Patrick Chung (+8.9 overall), Devin McCourty (+8.0 overall) and Duron Harmon (+5.1 overall) all have pass coverage ratings above +7.0.

· New England ranks as the top overall team per PFF’s ratings (+225.9) with the second-overall rated offense (+84.0) and the fifth-overall rated defense (+92.3).

If you're buying what PFF is selling, it would seem that Clowney, Mercilus, and even a wounded Watt should have success against the Patriots' offensive line Sunday night. That said, rattling Tom Brady is always a tough task, no matter who's blocking for him.

Patriots vs Texans coverage
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