3 ways the Patriots can beat the Houston Texans Sunday are as follows: Just show up. ***end of article***
I joke, I joke. Well, I’m kind of serious, but I guess there’s a few other reasons the Patriots are going to whoop the Texans this Sunday. First of all, yes, I know Houston has the same record as the Pats (1-3). But the vibes around these two teams could not be any different. Behind the apparent best QB drafted in 2021, Mac Jones, and a top defense, the Pats are full of potential for the rest of the season and the future. The Texans, on the other hand, have a management team that’s the butt of every joke and a roster that instills zero confidence. Oh, and there’s some controversy around Watson that, while I won’t get into it, certainly doesn’t help at all.
Back to the Pats. I mentioned there are 3 reasons they’ll destroy the Texans this season, so let’s get into it.
Run The Ball…Often
Gone are the days where the Texans have any semblance of a formidable rush defense. In case you didn’t know, which I’m sure you wouldn’t since no one cares about the Texans, Houston is horrendous against the rush this year. Overall, the Texans are the 28th ranked defense in the NFL and like I said, the rush D is a big part of that. They are surrendering the 5th most rush yards per game (137), the 9th most yards per rush attempt (4.5), the most rushing TD’s (8) and the 5th most overall rush yards allowed on the season (548). I told you they were bad.
If you’re the Pats, running the ball needs to be a priority. I understand that yesterdays practice fielded one (1) offensive line starter (David Andrews), but that shouldn’t even matter. Even if Onwenu and and Wynn are still on the COVID list and Trent Browns still suffering the worst minor calf injury in the history of minor calf injuries, it doesn’t matter. You run the ball all NIGHT. The fill ins can handle the Texans Fufflepuff-like rush defense. Damien Harris should eat until he is stuffed this Sunday. And then eat some more.
Once you get the defense moving up to defend the run, that’s when you throw it over the top. It’s a classic NFL trope, but it rings true here. This defense is going to need to sell out to even attempt to stop the run. And when they do that, Mac needs to pull it back and uncork some 20+ yarders to Agholor or Bourne. While I despise the “Let Mac throw it deep!” argument since you can win football games without doing so, I think this is the game where you do just that. The Texans pass D is 3rd in the league with most plays over 20 yards (18), 8th in yards per catch (12.1), and 11th in yards per game (264.8). While it’s not quite as bad as the run defense, the pass defense should still give Mac jones plenty of room to work.
Oh, and since I know everyone is wondering, Houston can’t really get after the passer either. They have the second fewest QB Hits in the league (15), tied for 3rd fewest sacks (7) and have the 2nd fewest QB pressures (25). Like I said, I know the Pats have a patchwork OL going into this game, but I don’t think they’re bad enough to let this pass rush look anything more than mediocre. So while I’m sure there’ll still be a fair amount of screens/short passes to make up for the line issues, the play action should still be a very big part of this offense on Sunday.
I know this one seems obvious, but it’s really that easy. The Texans are simply…not a good offense. Whatsoever. There’s nothing they do well. They are 29th in pass yards per game (180), 26th in rush yards per game (83) and 29th in points per game (16.8). This defense just held Tom Brady to his worst completion percentage since he’s been with the Bucs, zero passing TD’s and only 19 points. They should feast on Davis Mills and this humdrum offense.
And while the Texans have only given up 9 sacks (T-7th) there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to get pressure on Mills all night. With the addition of Jamie Collins (assuming he plays), the dominance of Matt Judon and the continued development of players like Guy, Wise and Uche, the Pats should show up big time with the pass rush. Especially with no real running game to worry about.
Like I said to start this article, just show up. I don’t mean to make it sound like this game will be easy or a blowout…but I’m also not saying it won’t be those things. This game should be a ‘get right’ one for the Pats, both on offense and defense. I’m not saying it’ll be perfect. There will obviously be things to work on, but it shouldn’t be too stressful for fans. Also, I made a promise that I would do something wild on Tuck Rule Takes if the Patriots somehow lose to the Texans so…take a look at that below if you’re curious (it’s towards the end).
We’re onto Houston.
(Featured photo credit www.nflmocks.com)
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~ Tuck Rule Takes Podcast (@TuckRuleTakes on Twitter)