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Three and Out: Patriots-Texans Predictions

The BRB staff predicts Sunday’s contest between the Houston Texans and the New England Patriots at NRG Stadium.

New England Patriots Vs. Houston Texans at NRG Stadium Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

After an abysmal and expected 40-0 curb-stomping at the hands of the Buffalo Bills, the Houston Texans will drag their carcasses home to face the New England Patriots on Sunday. Here at Patriots South, as our good and noble leader Tim states; “It’s like looking into a mirror, but without all the championships.”

Truly though, these mirror image franchises have a combined SIX Super Bowl trophies (!!!), but whatever incremental advantages the Patriots have over the Texans, there’s no doubt Houston absolutely crushes them in culture. The culture is so damn good in Houston I can nearly taste it. It tastes a bit like burnt toast.

On to the predictions:

Chris: Patriots 23, Texans 9.

I was just a crazy person last week, picking the Texans to score 16 points against Buffalo. This week I will adjust accordingly. Sure, the Patriots are not very good - but the Texans will almost certainly get out-coached in this game, and I just do not expect anything from Davis Mills against a Bill Belichick-coached defense. Mac Jones certainly isn’t setting the world on fire, but the Texans will lose games even if they manage to play decent or better than average defense this year until Tyrod Taylor returns.

Davis Mills can (and will) get better, but I just do not think it is going to happen in the window between now and when Taylor returns.

Matt Weston: Patriots 20, Texans 6.

The Patriots are boring, but somehow Davis Mills is even boringer. Is that a word? Who cares? It’s Jonnu Smith dropped passes. A run game derailed by the left side of their line and their right guard. Empty formations, crossing patterns, short quick hitters. It’s like Tom Brady, but after 27 Budweisers and without any explosive plays. New England will run the ball well against Houston because everyone does, and there’s enough intellect to find holes in Houston’s new cover three defense after cover two failed them.

The Patriots’ pass defense is still great. They play a lot of man coverage with J.C. Jackson, Jalen Mills, and Jonathan Jones, and somehow there’s still a McCourty laying around. Because of this, New England can blitz, which creates free paths and clean-ups for Matt Judon and Josh Uche. The run defense is still atrocious even after adding Davon Godchaux, Henry Anderson, Christian Barmore, and getting Dont’a Hightower back.

If the Texans could run the ball, they could win this game, but they can’t. Once again, they have a bottom rushing attack. Laremy Tunsil is allergic to run blocking, the Tytus Howard experiment is a failure, Justin Britt is an outside zone center playing on an offensive line that can’t block the outside zone, Max Scharping isn’t strong enough to play guard and never had the pass set to play tackle, and Marcus Cannon is perfectly fine. The only running back who can break a tackle is Mark Ingram. Unbelievable. It’s been six years since the Texans had a good offensive line.

Tim: Patriots 21, Texans 10.

While I don’t think the Patriots are good, I have not seen anything from Davis Mills the last two and a half weeks that would make me think he is capable of leading an offense to score enough points to win a football game. And that’s before we accept the fact that Bill Belichick is sure to throw some looks at Mills that the young quarterback hasn’t seen before and/or doesn’t know how to attack.

Factor those two unfortunate truths in with the reality that the Texans haven’t demonstrated any semblance of a consistent running attack, and all signs point to a game that will only be made tolerable to watch accompanied by multiple downed cocktails.

l4blitzer: Patriots 16, Texans 3.

I was almost half-tempted to go with the classic score of 6-4, with the Patriots playing a sluggish game in Houston after falling short in “The Return ‘’ in Foxborough, and the Texans’ offense doing absolutely zero in the game against Belichick. The 4 points would come from the two intentional safeties that the Patriots take, one at the end of each half, to improve field position and dare the Texans’ offense, or lack thereof, to move the ball on them and score. Based on Houston’s performance the past two weeks, this might be a workable strategy. I don’t quite think the game will evolve that way, but wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

The Patriots are not even close to what they once were (once = 2018-19 season). Their offense is nowhere near as explosive and points are at a premium. However, the Patriots can play defense, and Belichick, whether he is the same Darth Lord of the Sith with or without Tom Brady, can coach up a defense. They are without Stephon Gilmore, but the Texans’ offense, with Davis Mills under center, does not present an especially significant challenge. This will put the Texans’ defense in an especially brutal spot, as they can play decent enough at times to hold off an onslaught of an NFL offense but are not even close to good enough to win a game by themselves.

Under different circumstances (read: the Texans with something resembling a workable quarterback like Tyrod Taylor or the guy who played last year), this game could shape up as something very, very different. In the “I am not making this stat up department,” the Pats have lost their last two games in Houston. If Belichick, Kraft and the Patriots needed some additional motivation for this game, there you go.

Plus, they might be the only other group of people in the NFL who loathe Jack Easterby more than we (Texans fans) do. This game is low on points, and while the Texans avoid a second straight shutout, the Patriots will do just enough in this game on offense to leave the field with a victory.

bfMFd: Texans Process, Patriots -43.

After the absolute beatdown the culture-laden Texans put on the Bills this week, I think I’m going to take a hunch and believe that process will have its turn this week.

After all, Nick Caserio and Cal McNair, who is definitely NOT a #Failson, have been preaching that we should trust the process. Where have they gone wrong with that? Nowhere. At all. It’s been just as they promised. Also, if you criticize the team in any way, you aren’t a fan of the Texans. Let’s just make that clear.

What about the Patriots? Well, as I wrote earlier this week, the Patriots’ Way is a hoax and a ruse. Without Tom Brady, there is no process. Well, not like what the Texans have. Like a little squirrel, Caserio was stealing away the process acorns of Bill Belichick’s success, and now we have the entire stash! WHOO!

The refs will start demeriting the Patriots right from the start, and it will be downhill for them immediately. I almost (almost!) feel badly for them.

Evan: Patriots 20, Texans 7.

Last week, Davis Mills had a rough game against a tough Buffalo defense. His upcoming matchup with New England isn’t going to be a lot easier. It’s not like Mills can just hand it off on every play and avoid the receivers, because if the Texans want to stay competitive, they’re going to have to take some shots downfield. I know that’s a bit risky, but there’s not a lot to lose at this point.

It looks like wideout Danny Amendola could return from injury by Sunday, and since this is a revenge game for the 35 year old, he might get a few targets. Probably not going to be anything special; just an interesting storyline to follow from a team that has little to talk about right now (things aren’t great...end of conversation).

The Patriots’ offense has been inconsistent this year, and if the Texans’ defense steps up, there’s a chance they could have a pretty good day. While it might be a stretch to call Houston’s defense “good,” it’s been a bit better than expected. Maybe not against the Bills, but we’ve gotta move on from that. A turnover or a sack should be looked at as a success.

Matt Robinson: Patriots 24, Houston 10.

The masthead was in large consensus on just how bad the beatdown would be last week. It morphed into a recor-breaking dismal affair to watch. While the scoring differential will not be as large this week, I still have the Patriots walking away with a victory.

While there are numerous reasons to choose from, whether it be the current state of the offense with personnel, Belichick’s infamous nature of toying with rookie signal callers, or the basic nature of a Cover Two defense going up against a rookie quarterback known for surgical quick game throws. What gives me the most pause heading into Sunday will be Davis Mills trying to work the field behind an inconsistent offensive line facing the pair of Matt Judon and Josh Uche, both of whom are near the top of the league in pass rush efficiency. Similar to David Carr, which Mills’ DVOA record shattering performance last wee k(yay?) had many comparing him to, there is simply no way Davis Mills can grow into even a Matt Schaub level quarterback if he continues to take this amount of punishment.

Not a lot of votes for culture this week, I see. It’s almost as if... well, no. Just have to push through this adversity. Everyone is against us! This is just part of the larger plan!

Prove your commitment to CULTURE by using the comments below to predict the game, and above all else - spend Sunday celebrating the glory of Superior Culture!