Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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Prediction: HOU 17, NE 34 (Line: NE by 9.5)

The Texans managed to reverse their losing trend that ended the season when they clipped the visiting Bengals 19-13 in a game that came within about 18" from seeing A.J. Green catch what would have been the winning touchdown against them. The Texans are 6-2 on the road but both losses were their most recent road trips. Worse yet, one of them was when they went to New England and were slammed 42-14 in a game that was no where near that close.

Both teams ended with a 12-4 record but New England got the bye thanks to that win over the Texans.

Houston Texans
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIA 30-10 10 @CHI 13-6
2 @JAC 27-7 11 JAC 43-37
3 @DEN 31-25 12 @DET 34-31
4 TEN 38-14 13 @TEN 24-10
5 @NYJ 23-17 14 @NE 14-42
6 GB 24-42 15 IND 29-17
7 BAL 43-13 16 MIN 6-23
8 BYE ----- 17 @IND 16-28
9 BUF 21-9 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
HOUSTON Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub - - 250,1
RB Arian Foster 80,1 4-30 -
TE Owen Daniels - 6-60 -
WR Andre' Johnson - 7-80 -
WR Kevin Walter - 1-10 -
WR Devier Posey - 2-20 -
PK Shayne Graham 1 FG 2 TD -

Pregame Notes: The Texans were 11-1 and owned the NFL but then they played in New England where it all fell apart. That was followed by losses to the visiting Vikings and in Indianapolis against a team that no one thought had any chance of reaching the playoffs. What has happened over the last half of the season has been a drop in offensive production tied almost entirely to Matt Schaub.

After the first 12 games, Schaub passed for 21 touchdowns and even threw for 527 yards against the Jaguars in week 11. But over the last five games - starting with the fiasco in New England - Schaub has thrown only one touchdown. He threw four interceptions in that time. The change was seemingly instant once the Pats held him to only 232 passing yards and no touchdowns with one interception. That he reached the Pro Bowl only illustrates why they should wait until the season ends to vote.

Arian Foster has been the engine of the offense all year and racked up 17 touchdowns in the regular season. One of his worst performances was when he only gained 38 yards on 14 runs in New England though he did score his obligatory one rushing touchdown. He scored in all but one road game this year.

Schaub's decline mirrored the same with Owen Daniels who scored six times in the first 11 games and then none since. He was held to only 24 yards on two catches in New England and was remaining below 40 yards in each of the last five games until the Bengals game when he showed up with nine catches for 91 yards. That should come into play against a soft defense of the Patriots that ranks 29th against the position but it did not matter in the last meeting. Daniels has been nursing a sore shoulder for much of the season.

The passing game has really never been much more than Andre Johnson and by now that is really all it has become. Johnson has come through with a great season to be sure and racked up six games over 100 yards. He turned in eight catches for 95 yards against the Patriots bad secondary but no other wideout gained more than 31 yards or had over two catches in that meeting.

The Pats have been preparing for two weeks to do what they have already done. That makes Foster and Johnson the only two fantasy plays here and it will be good enough to merely match what they did the last time they played here.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 20 2 27 4 5 9
Preventing Fantasy Points NE 30 8 26 29 7 2


New England Patriots
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN 34-13 10 BUF 37-31
2 ARI 18-20 11 IND 59-24
3 @BAL 30-31 12 @NYJ 49-19
4 @BUF 52-28 13 @MIA 23-16
5 DEN 31-21 14 HOU 42-14
6 @SEA 23-24 15 SF 34-41
7 NYJ 29-26 16 @JAC 23-16
8 @STL 45-7 17 MIA 28-0
9 BYE ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
NEW ENGLAND Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady - - 300,3
RB Stevan Ridley 70,1 1-10 -
TE Rob Gronkowski - 6-80,1 -
TE Aaron Hernandez - 5-60,1 -
WR Brandon Lloyd - 4-40 -
WR Wes Welker - 8-90,1 -
PK S. Gostkowski 2 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Patriots come off their bye week needing to take care of business here so that we can see the latest iteration of Brady vs. Manning next week. The week 14 win over the Texans was so thorough and so dominating that it makes this week look like a mismatch. The Pats have spent two weeks readying to repeat what they already did just five weeks ago.

Tom Brady passed for 296 yards and four touchdowns in that last meeting and that was without Rob Gronkowski. Aaron Hernandez had his best fantasy game of the year then when he caught eight passes for 58 yards and two scores while Brandon Lloyd suddenly ended his very quiet season when he nabbed seven receptions for 89 yards and one touchdown. He followed that up with 10 catches for 190 yards against the 49ers the next week.

An impact here was that while Lloyd was turning in good games starting back in week 14, that ended in week 17 when Rob Gronkowski returned. Lloyd only ended with one catch for nine yards then while Gronkowski sought to get back in game shape with two catches for 42 yards and a score in that game. Bottom line - Lloyd has been a big factor in games but only when Gronk is not playing. He remains below 50 yards in all the rest.

Wes Welker was held to just three catches for 54 yards against the Texans but with Gronkowski out he became a marked man. The last two games of the year saw Welker with eight or more catches and a score with 90 yards or so. He should become a bigger factor this time.

Stevan Ridley ended with 72 yards and one score on 18 runs in the previous meeting with the Texans. What makes the Pats backfield even worse to predict has been the return of Brandon Bolden who received five or six carries in those last two games of the season. He adds into the group already with Shane Vereen who ran eight times for 40 yards on the Texans and of course Danny Woodhead who only gained four yards on one run in that game and yet the next week against the 49ers he had a season best 61 yards on 12 runs with two scores. Ridley is the only consistently used runner and the most likely to score but by no means the entirety of the rushing attack and often not even the majority of touches.

The Texans barely beat the Bengals in Houston last week. They were already waxed 42-14 and it was 28-0 b4efore Houston scored and 42-7 until the final two minutes. It doesn't help the Texans that they are so bad against tight ends and now get to face both of them this time.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 4 1 13 1 1 2
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 18 1 22 30 6 10


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