5 New England Patriots’ Players To Watch Sunday Against Houston Texans
Five New England Patriots To Watch Vs. Houston Texans
Heading into Week 13 of the season for the New England Patriots, they are in very good shape in terms of the playoff picture. If they win this week and the Miami Dolphins manage to beat the New York Jets, they would be able to clinch a division title next week with a win and a Dolphins loss.
First, however, the Patriots have to take care of business against the struggling Houston Texans. Right now, Houston looks like a shell of the team it was a year ago, thanks to injuries on defense and a mediocre quarterback carousel this year. Even with that said, the Patriots cannot take this game lightly.
Besides the possibility of clinching the division next week, it would behoove the team to win out the remainder of their schedule for playoff seeding implications. Simply put, if they win out and both the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos were to fall at some point, the Patriots would own the number one seed in the AFC. However, they must first focus on beating Houston as I mentioned before.
To win this week, the Patriots will need several players to step up their game. Here is a list of five players to watch in Week 13. If you have a thought on any of the players mentioned in this slideshow, I would encourage you to comment regarding the subject in the “comments” section down below. I will of course start with QB Tom Brady.
Brady has been in a nice rhythm with his receivers as of late. Against the Texans, it is very likely that the rapport with his receivers, especially Rob Gronkowski and Shane Vereen, will continue to be on display. Brady will probably be able to complete passes deep down the field when given the opportunity due to Houston's holes at the safety position. It is for that reason that he is the main player to watch in this matchup, besides being the team's most important player.
Julian Edelman, who is normally an afterthought in the Patriots' offense when all of their receivers are healthy, will be a player to watch on Sunday as well. Against the Broncos, he had a statement game, catching nine passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns, out-producing fellow slot man Danny Amendola in a major way last week. With Aaron Dobson out this week, expect him to see plenty of targets tomorrow afternoon.
Gronkowski could be the main beneficiary of both Dobson's absence and the Houston defense on Sunday. Brady likes to look for him deep at times, and with the holes at the safety position for Houston, I would expect Brady to take some shots with him deep down the field in this game. Regardless of matchup, Gronk is the main option in this passing attack and that should not change this week against a struggling Houston secondary.
Stevan Ridley is a player to watch in this game for an entirely different reason. He has had major struggles with ball security lately and was benched for a large portion of the game last week against the Broncos. What will be interesting to watch with Ridley is how much he plays, if at all in this matchup -- not necessarily the numbers he puts up. If he plays the majority of snaps, that would indicate that the coaching staff still has faith in him down the stretch. If he doesn't or plays minimal snaps, it could indicate that his days with the team are be numbered.
Aqib Talib will have his hands full once again this week against a top-end wide receiver. This week he will be matched up against superstar wideout Andre Johnson. Even with mediocre quarterback play behind him, Johnson has still been among the best receivers in the league this year. Talib will have to play Johnson tight for the Patriots to be successful on defense Sunday.