TV Schedule: Sunday, Dec. 1, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Stadium: Reliant Stadium
Weather: High 70, Low 59
Line: New England (-9)
It has to feel good coming off a huge win against one of the NFL‘s best teams in week 12 and that’s exactly what the New England Patriots are dealing with this week. Beating the Denver Broncos a week ago after being down 24-0 at halftime is enough of a confidence-booster to get them through the remainder of the year and end on a high note. Tom Brady hasn’t blown anyone away with his stats this season as he’s passed for 2,896 yards and 17 touchdowns on the year while loving the fact that he has tight end Rob Gronkowski back for good. The big target has caught 31 passes for 433 yards and three touchdowns — fourth on the team in every category after missing the better part of six games. Stevan Ridley leads the run game with 576 yards and seven touchdowns on 4.3 yards per carry.
It has been quite the opposite season for the Houston Texans in 2013 than the Patriots. Expecting to contend for a Super Bowl behind quarterback Matt Schaub, the Texans have taken a step in the wrong direction after a 2-9 start to the season and a last place standing in the AFC South. Schaub is no longer the quarterback after suffering an injury and taking a backseat to Case Keenum when he was finally healthy. Although Schaub is the leading passer on the team still, Keenum has done a solid job in his few starts, passing for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns. The major difference between the two QBs is the interception numbers — Keenum has two and Schaub had nine. Keenum has shown who his favorite target is and Andre Johnson has flourished, catching 74 passes for 1,002 yards and five scores. Arian Foster is out for the season and Ben Tate has taken over at running back.
Defensively, the Patriots are somewhat inconsistent. New England ranks ninth in the league in both points allowed and passing yards allowed per game, but also rank 21st in total yards and an even worse 31st in rushing yards allowed per game. Houston has had one of the best defenses in the league in terms of yards allowed, ranking first in both passing yards and total yards allowed, but has struggled at keeping teams out of the endzone, ranking 26th in points allowed.
PREDICTION: Patriots 34, Texans 20