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Houston Texans vs. New England Patriots Point Spread - Pick

Houston Texans (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. New England Patriots (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Week 3 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, September 24, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxorough, Massachusetts
TV: CBS

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: HOU +13.5/NE -13.5
Over/Under Total: 43.5

The Houston Texans come to Foxborough on Sunday for a week three matchup against the New England Patriots. It's a tough road spot for the Texans, as this was a matchup that was tough on them last season, losing a regular season game to the Pats, 27-0, before losing to them in the divisional playoffs, 34-16. They look for better this week against a Pats team that made up for their week one loss to Kansas City with a rousing road win over the Saints in week two. The win evened their slate at 1-1 and they look for more at home this week against this Texans bunch.

The season got off to a rough start for Houston at home in week one when they were manhandled by the Jaguars, 29-7. The Jacksonville defense ran roughshod over the Texans who had no answers in week one. The following week in Cincinnati, we saw a typical Houston win where their defense does most of the heavy lifting, while the offense does just enough to keep the team above water, registering a big play here and there and escaping with a narrow and not entirely-exciting win.

Toward that end, Houston looked to get a positive first start from first round draft pick and new starting quarterback Deshaun Watson. A look at his stats against Cincy might not impress. But for what Houston is trying to accomplish, it was right in their wheelhouse. Houston pecks and pokes, tries not to make mistakes, while the defense wins the day. Watson was not terribly impressive aerially, but threw no picks on 15-for-24 passing. His 49-yard touchdown run was the only moment of offensive success for either team on Thursday. Lamar Miller added some useful runs, with Watson looking like he's gelling well already with top Houston receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Again, it wasn't exciting, but Thursday's win over the Bengals was in many ways a typical win for a team that has won two straight division titles doing things their way. One major cause for concern is an offensive line that is not quite the same as last year, especially with top tackle Duane Brown still holding out.

The Houston defense was a more-impactful group in week 2. They succeeded in keeping Cincinnati out of the end zone, allowing a mere three field goals. They were able to get after Dalton, as JJ Watt was fired-up and added a sack, while Benardrick McKinney added two sacks. The secondary played pretty well, even after they lost both corners in Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph, who didn't finish the game and are listed as day-to-day. They lost Brian Cushing to a suspension, which hurts their run-stop, but it's a deep unit and still clearly the undisputed strength of the team. In this game, they're going to need to be really good. Whatever the case, getting the win on Thursday was critical because there were some legitimate concerns after week one as to whether the Texans could cut the mustard this season.

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After a lukewarm week one performance, the Patriots offense looked to be in a lot better shape in week two. For only the second time in his storied career, Tom Brady surpassed the 300-yard mark before the end of the first half. When a 40-year old starts a season badly, you always have to wonder, but Brady looked like his vintage self on Sunday in quickly putting this game in the Patriots' column. The defense stopped the run game for New Orleans and never let the Saints establish foothold at home.

Brady led the Pats to touchdown drives on his first three drives. Brady ended up going 30-for-39 with a big 447 yards and 3 touchdowns. The New England run-game is still working on some different things, but they look to have replaced LeGarrette Blount's red-zone running prowess, with first year New England back Mike Gillislee already having 4 rushing TDs in two games. Rob Gronkowski gives this offense a huge boost, as he had 116 yards and a TD on 6 catches. Back James White had 8 catches. Rex Burkhead and Chris Hogan each caught TD passes and though Brandin Cooks was quiet, they look to have awakened something in WR Philip Dorsett, who had a nice game on Sunday. This offense has a lot of weapons, uses the whole field, and is hell on opposing defenses, especially ones that don't make a lot of big plays. It's just that we need to keep an eye on Gronk, Dorsett, and Hogan, as all three were hurt in Sunday's game. New England might have great depth on offense, but the injury bug has been rampant on this side of the ball this season thus far.

The New England defense was a lot better on Sunday. When playing New Orleans on the road, there is going to be some aerial production with Drew Brees and Company. But New England's defense was able to limit an abundance of big plays and keep the game in control for the duration. Rookie end Deatrich Wise notched a sack. In the secondary, Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe, Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, and Duron Harmon were exploited at times, but kept damage to a relative minimum. As is their wont, they limit the production of a team's best playmakers and we saw more of that on Sunday.

The Texans were able to right their ship on Thursday and should benefit from the long week for this game. But whatever insight Texans head coach Bill O'Brien may have gained in his time at New England didn't seem to resonate last season. The Texans' M.O. of deadening the game and getting just enough big plays to nose out a win doesn't translate well against teams like New England. And with the Patriots still in a heightened sense of urgency after their week one failings, look for them to be fired-up to atone for their first home game of the season, which featured a second half collapse. As big as the spread seems, we like the Pats to cover this week.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the New England Patriots minus 13.5 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the Houston vs. New England game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!

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