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Patriots – Texans, Key Matchups, Who Has the Razor’s Edge?

Steve Balestrieri
5 years ago at 6:36 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary

Patriots – Texans, Key Matchups, Who Has the Razor’s Edge?Chris Humphreys - USA TODAY Sports

Patriots RBs vs Texans Front Seven – Razor’s Edge Houston
The Patriots running game seemed to be getting on track early in last week’s game against Philly but the coaching staff abandoned the run much too soon. Once the the third quarter meltdown was complete, they had to throw in an attempt to get back into the game.

LaGarrette Blount, James White and Brandon Bolden have had very little room to run this season, as injuries and a constant shuffling of the offensive line continues into the fourth quarter of the season. The Pats rank near the bottom of the league in rushing attempts and yardage, averaging just 88.5 yards per game.

The Texans were outstanding at defending the run during their four-game winning streak before last week’s hiccup in Buffalo. J.J. Watt, Vince Wilfork and Jared Crick are the down three linemen and their inside backers Benadrick McKinney and Brian Cushing are downhill run stuffers.

There will be some cutback lanes to run in and if the Patriots look at the tape, the Bills ran at Watt rather than away from him, taking advantage of his aggressiveness and were able to trap him inside on a few nice runs by Shady McCoy. But the question remains, will Josh McDaniels stay patient enough to allow the running game to get going on Sunday night?

Patriots WRs vs Texans Secondary – Razor’s Edge New England
The Patriots passing game has hit the wall with injuries and it was evident. Missing Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski is taking its toll on the offense in general and Brady in particular. The receivers aren’t getting open and its forcing Brady to hold the ball for longer periods of time. That is resulting in the hits he’s taking (36 in the last three games).

They did get Danny Amendola back last week and he’ll be leaned upon heavily in the slot, trying to be the hot route outlet for Brady and keep the chains moving. Neither Edelman and Gronk will play so Scott Chandler and Brandon LaFell will have to step up their game this week.

Houston has a trio of pass rushers that can get after the quarterback in Watt, who is having another outstanding season, Whitney Mercilus and Jadaveon Clowney. Clowney is finally healthy and he’s heating up for the Texans. Their corners (Jonathan Joseph, Kevin Johnson and Kareem Jackson), are playing much more aggressive now and that’s a big reason why the Texans pass defense is now ranked 3rd in the league.

Andre Hal and Quentin Demps are the safeties now, since they’ve sat Rahim Moore they’re playing much better.

Romeo Crennel has built this defense much like the Patriots defenses he coached here in the 2003-2004 timeframe. They’re big, tough and physical but they lack a little bit of overall team speed. During their four-game win streak, the Texans allowed only 8.8 points and 250.5 yards per game. They notched 16 sacks and were allowing only a 21.2 third down percentage. How successful the Pats patchwork offensive line is at keeping the pressure off of Tom Brady will go a long way in determining who wins this game.

Next up the Houston offense:


Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2015 NFL Season Bill Belichick Bill O'Brien Brandon LaFell Brian Hoyer Chandler Jones Danny Amendola DeAndre Hopkins George Godsey Houston Texans J.J. Watt Jabaal Sheard Julian Edelman LaGarrette Blount Malcolm Butler Mike Vrabel New England Patriots NFL Patriots Patriots edge rushers predictions Rob Gronkowski Rob Ninkovich Romeo Crennel Tom Brady Vince Wilfork

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