The roof at NRG Stadium is open. The sun is shining. It is bright. Finally, after living in a closet with the door slammed shut, Houston has opened its heart, dropped the top, taken off its shirt, and will be playing outdoors. Hopefully it’s 75 degrees so those pasty New Englanders who eat queso in a breadbowl are red-faced and panting throughout today’s game because, always and forever, screw the New England Patriots.
Houston is 2-7. New England is 4-5 and trying to get back into the AFC playoff race. They’re currently trailing the Raiders, Titans, Browns, and Ravens, all of whom are fighting for wild card spots at 6-3.
New England is bringing their rugby offense to Houston to try and keep their January football dreams alive. Cam Newton can’t throw the ball past 15 yards, but he can quick pass and orchestrate a run-heavy attack that he’s a vital organ of. Outside zone, inside zone, duo, zone-read, zone-lead, pin-pull, some strange boot leg runs with Newton...the Patriots run it all behind one of the best offensive lines in the league. Up against them today is the worst run defense in football. Great job, Bill O’Brien! You’ll have to answer to God one day for the sins you committed.
Houston should throw the ball 65 times today. They won’t, but they should. After a little bit of a breakout, the offense is sick with the same inconsistencies with Tim Kelly. Their option rules don’t make sense and/or Deshaun Watson is making the wrong reads. The vertical passing game doesn’t exist even against Cover Three defenses. The run game is bogged down my missed blocks and missed assignments. Houston’s pass catchers rarely pick up much after the catch when those opportunities arise; they also really miss a receiver who can win at the catch point, someone like DeAndre Hopkins.
By DVOA, New England has a bad pass and run defense. Their front lacks any impact players aside from maybe Chase Winovich, and they’re the first New England team in the Bill Belichick era that can’t tackle. Their cornerback play hasn’t been able to mask their rush. Again, Houston can score points on the Patriots if they throw the ball 65 times.
The first game thread will publish at 11:45 a.m. Until then, here’s your place of residence to live at until kickoff. Enjoy today’s game, everyone. We’re all in this together.