The 2018 NFL season kicks off for both the Houston Texans and the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon as the Texans will travel to face the Patriots. The overall series record is in favor of the Patriots 9-1 and the Texans are 0-6 on the road in the series. This game will mark the fourth straight year that the Texans have gone on the road to face the Patriots in the regular season. The Patriots have opened at 6.5 point favorites.
Watson Looking to Return Strong
Last year, the Texans were hitting their stride as they played the Patriots in Week 3. DeShaun Watson threw for 302 yards and had his coming out game of sorts. In the first two games of the season Watson threw for a touchdown and 227 yards. Against the Patriots he looked much more comfortable and even though he threw two interceptions, he threw for two touchdowns and 302 yards.
This year the offense should be even better with a better offensive line, Watson healthy, and a dynamic group of wide receivers. The defense for the Texans is back and better this year, especially with the free agent signing of Tyrann Mathieu. The defense last year was decimated by injuries and is finally healthy going into this season.
The addition of Mathieu and the health of their defense is really going to be able to help out the Texans this year as they struggled mightily last year stopping offenses. It should be another playoff year for the Texans as long as everyone stays healthy. The Texans are very optimistic going into this year as they will have one of their best teams on paper with a hard-hitting defense and a quarterback in Watson that they can get excited about.
Patriots Looking for another Trip to Super Bowl
The Patriots are coming off a 13-3 regular season and a loss in the Super Bowl to the Philadelphia Eagles. Tom Brady, despite being 40, had a great year last year throwing for 4,577 yards and 32 touchdowns. This year Brady turns 42 but you can expect much of the same from one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.
To start the year, Julian Edelman is suspended for four games. Being Brady’s favorite receiver we will have to wait and see how this will affect the Patriots offensive prowess. Rob Gronkowski returns and is annually one of the best tight ends in the game when he is healthy. The Patriots defense is solid but won’t blow anyone completely away. This is a unit that will always be good but not spectacular. Look for the Patriots to contend once again this year for another Super Bowl crown. Anything is possible when Brady is behind center at quarterback.
Pick and Prediction
The Texans almost stole this game last year in Foxboro and this year they are even better while the Patriots are a little worse. This is a very even game, but with the Patriots playing at home it could turn ugly. I don’t think it will as Watson will come out with something to prove and the loss of Edelman leaves Brady throwing to wide-outs Cordarrelle Patterson and Chris Hogan.
Gronkowski will be in there but he will be double teamed all game long. The Texans defense is going to step up as they want to show the NFL what they are capable of this year. The Patriots aren’t going to go down easy with Brady at the helm. The Texans have a knack of beating the spread and if Watson comes out and gets off to a good start, the Texans can win this game. Take the Texans as they will very likely cover the spread. The Patriots are favored by 6.5 points.