New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans Matchup Preview (10/10/21) Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans Matchup Preview (10/10/21)
The Patriots have had one of the more frustrating seasons I can remember.
The 1-3 Patriots are a goal-line fumble and a doinked field goal away from being 3-1. But Mac Jones has looked good, and it’s clear the team is building towards something.
Luckily, they’ll play a Houston team that’s going in the opposite direction. Following the injury to Tyrod Taylor, Davis Mills has been a disaster under center. This was already a weak NFL team, and they’ll be lucky to cover another game before Taylor comes back.
But for now, both New England and Houston are both 2-2 against the spread (ATS). The Patriots are 8-2 vs. the Texans in the two’s last 10 meetings, although Houston has won the last two.
This Sunday, however, the Patriots are nearly double-digit favorites. But is it worth laying the points with Bill Belichick and company? Or is there value to be found elsewhere?
Let’s dig into this matchup.
New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans Betting Odds
I don’t think Houston scores a point in this game.
Mills is going to get destroyed by the Patriots passing defense. And while the Patriots rush defense has been questionable (28th in rush defense DVOA), Houston ranks 31st in the NFL in both rush expected points added per play and rushing success rate. Plus, with a terrible offensive line, the backfield won’t get any push.
It’s too hard to lay the 10 points with New England considering the total is less than 40. Plus, it’s too hard to bet the under considering the total is less than 40.
However, I’ll happily back Houston to have another pathetic offensive performance. BetMGM is currently offering Houston’s team total at 16.5, and while it’s -165 to the under, I still believe the play has value.
My Predictions: Houston Team Total Under 16.5 (-165 on BetMGM)
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Date: Sunday, October 10
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
TV Coverage: CBS
New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans Live Stream
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New England Patriots: James White (O), Trent Brown (Q), Isaiah Wynn (Q)
Houston Texans: Tyrod Taylor (O), Zach Cunningham (Q), Danny Amendola (Q)
New England Patriots Analysis
This Patriots team should be better than they’re performing. They have an elite, physical secondary combined with a solid front seven who showed improvement last week. Plus, their rookie quarterback is playing out of his mind — Jones completed 19 consecutive passes in the second half last Sunday.
However, there’s one massive, glaring issue: The offensive line.
The line was supposed to be the strength of this team, and Belichick likes to build his roster from the middle out. Instead, it’s been a liability. They rank 30th in adjusted line yards and 28th in PFF’s run block grades. Last week, they rushed for -6 yards, which is practically impossible.
As soon as RT Trent Brown went down, everything seemed to fall apart. They can’t get a push in the ground game and Jones has to make every pass with four defenders in his face.
Jones’ advanced statistics are questionable at best, but he’s been playing with the training wheels still on. The Patriots do not push the ball down the field, as Jones is averaging just 6.4 yards per attempt despite completing over 70% of his passes. Last week against Tampa, he completed 31 of his 40 passes, but seven completions came from behind the line of scrimmage.
But, maybe that’s for the best. If you unleash Jones too early, things could get really ugly. You could end up with a Zach Wilson situation and it could jeopardize what New England is building. The Patriots are trying to win now, but long-term success is more important.
Let’s circle around to what has been built, tested, and passed: The defense. They’ve had trouble in the run game, but they currently rank second in Pass Defense DVOA, have allowed the fourth-fewest passing yards in the NFL, and have held opposing quarterbacks to just three touchdowns while intercepting them three times.
All-in-all, this unit ranks sixth in the NFL in expected points added per play. Directly after facing a championship offense led by the greatest quarterback to ever live.
It’s important to single out Matt Judon, who’s been the Patriots’ best defensive player. He never gives up on a play and has been a killer in the passing game off the edge. Judon’s recorded five sacks through just four games.
The big Matt Judon sack on 1st down. #Bucs would later punt.pic.twitter.com/8Xc6y1YLXv
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) October 4, 2021
New England Patriots Depth Chart
QB: Mac Jones
RB1: Damien Harris
RB2: James White
WR1: Jakobi Meyers
WR2: Nelson Agholor
WR3: Kendrick Bourne
TE1: Jonnu Smith
TE2: Hunter Henry
Houston Texans Analysis
There’s not much to say about the Texans. They’re a net-negative at basically every position, and they’re especially weak in the trenches, where they rank 31st in offensive adjusted line yards and 32nd in defense adjusted line yards.
Davis Mills has been a disaster. There are very few quarterbacks that have been less efficient than him:
Of the 35 quarterbacks that have dropped back at least 40 times this season, Mills ranks dead last in PFF’s passing grades. He’s made exactly one Big Time Throw to six Turnover Worthy Plays.
As such, he’s completed just 56% of his passes for 2.6 adjusted yards per attempt, per Pro Football Reference. He managed 87 yards and four interceptions in the Texans’ 40-0 shutout loss to Buffalo last week.
The one bright spot for Houston has been Brandin Cooks. Cooks has had 28 receptions on 39 targets this season, eating up 38% of Houston’s Target Marketshare. No other Houston receiver has more than eight receptions, and while Cooks has compiled 369 receiving yards, David Johnson ranks second on the team with 69.
Houston Texans Depth Chart
QB: Davis Mills
RB1: Mark Ingram II
RB2: David Johnson
WR1: Chris Conley
WR2: Anthony Miller
WR3: Brandin Cooks
TE1: Jordan Akins
New England Patriots vs. Houston Texans Daily Fantasy Picks
You could look at Brandin Cooks in this game. But, I’d rather stay away from the Patriots defense, and instead, put my money on Jakobi Meyers.
Meyers runs over 70% of his routes out of the slot. Considering Jones and McDaniels are still relying heavily on underneath routes, Meyers has benefitted greatly.
Through four weeks, Meyers has recorded a team-high 24% Target Marketshare, and his usage should continue to climb now that James White is out for the season. Last week against Tampa, Meyers recorded eight receptions on 12 targets, good for 28% of the team’s Target Marketshare.
With Houston’s offense and defense in disarray, the Patriots should have plenty of successful drives. Jones is going to look to Meyers a lot during those drives.
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