Patriots vs. Texans NFL Picks: Back New England to Cover -3

Swinging Johnson

Saturday, December 12, 2015 7:36 PM GMT

Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015 7:36 PM GMT

The previously undefeated New England Patriots are suddenly in danger of spiraling into a three-game losing streak if they come up short this week against a Texans team vying for a division title. Let's peruse what the NFL odds makers are offering and cash a ticket.

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NFL Pick: Patriots -3 (-120)
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker


New England Patriots (10-2 SU, 5-4-3 ATS)
The Patriots appeared poised to roll over the Eagles last week when they held a commanding 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter and then the roof caved in. Belichick got too cute with a trick play, Brady threw multiple interceptions for the first time all season and 21 of the Eagles 35 points came courtesy of their defense and special teams. Put it all together and you have a 35-28 victory by a team that the NFL odds makers handicapped as 10 point underdogs at the vaunted Foxboro Stadium.

The mounting injuries to New England starters Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Dion Lewis (not to mention the decimation of their offensive line which has become a patchwork of backups and semi-healthy starters playing in unfamiliar positions) has finally manifested in a pair of losses. It's simply too much to ask of a team to get it done with spare parts and expect it to run like nothing has changed. But despite all that doom and gloom the Pats still managed 28 points and their defense held Philadelphia to 14. Certainly adjustments will be made for this suddenly surging Texans defense but give New England credit, they are far from finished.


Houston Texans (6-6 SU, 6-6 ATS)
Houston saw their four game winning streak snapped last week at the hands of the Buffalo Bills by the score of 30-21. If you were one of those who jumped on the Texans bandwagon and included them in your NFL picks last week then you were no doubt cursing just like I was when you saw Charles Clay take a Tyrod Taylor pass 40 yards into the endzone with less than two minutes remaining of a tie game. Dan Carpenter added a field goal for Buffalo with 33 seconds left to extinguish any hope we may have had of getting this one into overtime. Of course it was not only their first loss of their last five games but also their only blown cover during that span. Welcome to my 2015 NFL season.

DeAndre Hopkins is Houston's big-play guy and he should be able to produce some decent offensive numbers against a New England secondary that is middling at best stopping the pass. In addition the Houston defense, anchored by J.J. Watt and assisted by former Pats defensive stalwart Vince Wilfork, should have a party against a decimated Patriots' offensive line.


Betting Analysis
The squares will tell you the Patriots can't lose three in a row but I'm here to tell you that no team is immune to a tailspin. However, in this case the Patriots will win and cover not because there is some mystical cabal or force of nature that determines such things but because the Houston offense is neither nuanced nor particularly talented with the only offensive star being Hopkins. Belichick knows all about his former protégé Bill O'Brien, now coaching for Houston, and  will be ready for anything he decides to throw at New England.

All in all this is actually a decent spot to bet the Patriots as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick don't take kindly to losing especially when they are the chief culprits. Brady will make adjustments and don't think for a moment that there isn't a contingency plan when O'Brien releases the hounds and the Texans come with the blitz. You may find some very odd combinations in the Patriots offense this weekend but don't discount anything the Evil Genius does because he and Brady are back to atone for their sins last week against a mediocre Houston squad this week.

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