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New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans Point Spread - Pick

New England Patriots (10-1 SU, 7-4 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (7-4 SU, 5-6 ATS)
Week 13 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday Night Football, December 1, 2019 at 8:20PM EST
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
TV: NBC

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: NE -3.5/HOU +3.5
Over/Under Total: 44.5

The New England Patriots come into NRG Stadium to face the Houston Texans on Sunday Night Football. This is a battle of first-place teams looking to put together their playoff cases in this final stretch of games. For the Patriots, the path is a little smoother, with a clear ride to one of the top seeds if they stay on the straight and narrow. The Texans are in more of a fight at just 7-4. But in breaking a tie in the standings last Thursday with a 20-17 win over the Colts, they scored a nice win and now look to take the next step as possible conference contenders. On Sunday, the Patriots beat the Cowboys, 13-9, in what was a grind for the defending Super Bowl champions. It was their second win a row since coming off the bye, as their defense once again made all the difference.

While they didn't cover the spread, missing it narrowly, the Texans accomplished a few things on Thursday. They were able to put the stink of their 34-point loss to Baltimore the previous week behind them, while getting a leg up on their closest divisional rivals in Indy, a team that beat them before this season. They've been pretty consistent since losing in week one, winning twice and losing once in sequence three straight times. While not able to really take off yet, they've been doing pretty well and enter this game in first place. A win over a leading conference contender and defending Super Bowl Champion would be big for the Texans, not just in the standings, but for their identity as being players in the AFC.

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Deshaun Watson leads this Houston offense and is a major asset. Getting difference-maker Will Fuller, V. back in the fold was critical to the win on TNF, as he had a big 140 yards against Indy. DeAndre Hopkins caught two TD passes on nearly 100 yards receiving. Those two give Watson a 1-2 punch upon which he can rely. The growth of the Houston ground-attack has been key to this offense. It seemed horrible to lose Lamar Miller, but between Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson, they have actually been more-effective running the ball this season. For them to compete in this spot and for their prospects looking further down the road, however, they need to do a better job of converting offense into actual points. That means they need to do better in the red-zone and get better placekicking, as Ka'imi Fairbairn has missed ten kicks this season already.

Houston's defense was key to the win over Indy, holding their divisional foes to just 17 points. They reverted form in the Colts game and whereas they normally have a stout run-defense and a dicey secondary, they were loose against the run and stout through the air on Thursday. Whereas Jacoby Brissett went for over 300 with 4 TDs in an almost perfect game in their first matchup, they had the Indy quarterback in knots last week with 129 yards through the air and no scores. After the Colts took it to 17-10 midway through the third quarter, Houston clamped down and didn't allow any more scoring. For a Houston "D" that was allowing higher and higher point-totals as the season got older, it was a positive development. Despite being at home and nice and dug in for the second of three straight at NRG, it gets a lot tougher this week against the Patriots' offense.

It's business as usual for the Pats, who keep on winning, as they start putting more touches on what looks like another run to glory. The win against Dallas wasn't thrilling, certainly not from an offensive point of view. But the league's best defense held Dallas to just nine points and it was enough in a 13-9 slog in the rain at Foxborough. Things might be a little trickier this week in Houston. They will be flexing that big "D," but will be looking to get their offense kicked into a higher gear.

With 30 points scored in their last two games, we've seen a more subdued Tom Brady in recent weeks. It's not hard to see why with some missing pieces on firepower, leaving them with Julian Edelman, Jacoby Meyers, and a lot of unproven aerial forces. They look for some key pieces to return as the weapons through the air are a bit thin right now for Brady. Sony Michel had 85 yards and they hope he can make some inroads against Houston this week, to help open up the passing game. Their defense has been keeping them afloat, but all it takes is a few big plays, either on offense or special teams, and then you need this Pats offense to produce. And lately, it's been a little bit of a problem.

Even with an offense not hitting on all cylinders, the form of the New England defense is beyond incredible. In 11 games, opponents have scored 14 or fewer points ten times! And they've done it against some pretty good offenses, as defending Bowl champs don't get the patsies of the league. The secondary is the best in the league, with a ton of playmaking to go along with all the stoutness they show week after week. Teams are barely averaging 10 points a game and 250 yards of offense per game against this bunch. So this is a pretty tough task for Houston, even if they have some nice weapons, a dangerous QB in Watson, and are at home.

A lot of edges exist here for the Texans—they're in a more urgent spot, they're in their building, and they got back on the right track with a big win last Thursday, as they get the long week, to boot. Granted, their offense isn't in high-gear and they're going against a defense playing in almost historic form, but I see their defense making some noise this week, as well. I like the Texans to cover the spread on Sunday night.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Houston Texans plus 3.5 points. Bet the Pats-Texans for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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