Sunday, November 22, 2020, NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas, 1 p.m. ET
Patriots at Texans Betting Preview: Patriots (-2.5/-104), Texans (+2.5/-118)
New England Patriots
The Patriots (4-5) have renewed life after posting back-to-back wins, one being a gutsy 23-17 triumph over the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday night in treacherous conditions.
However, the club is beginning a stretch in which four of five games are on the road, including two games against both Los Angeles teams in a five-day span before closing the excursion in Miami on Dec. 20. New England has been flagged for a league-low 29 penalties and is on track to break the franchise record for fewest over a 16-game season (57 in 2008).
Cornerback J.C. Jackson has an NFL-best six interceptions and he is looking to become the first player to record a pick in six straight games since former Minnesota Vikings safety Brian Russell in 2003.
Quarterback Cam Newton isn’t making much of an impact as a passer (three touchdowns, seven interceptions) but has found the end zone as a runner on nine occasions. Running back Damien Harris posted a career-best 121 rushing yards against Baltimore and has topped 100 in two of the past three games.
Wideout Julian Edelman (knee) is close to making a return after a three-game absence but it will not be a surprise if he misses this contest. Former high school quarterback Jakobi Meyers has taken advantage of his opportunity to make 23 receptions over the past three games as well as throwing a touchdown pass against the Ravens.
The Texans (2-7) haven’t recovered from the 0-4 start that led to Bill O’Brien’s firing and last week’s 10-7 loss to the Cleveland Browns added to their frustrations.
The porous defense that has been ravaged all season allowed its fewest points of the season but the offense put up its lowest point total as a tough effort came up short. Houston ranks last in the NFL in rushing defense (167.4) and the Browns carved the unit for 231 yards with two different runners topping 100.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson passed for a season-low 163 yards against the Browns but didn’t throw an interception for the fourth straight game. Watson has passed for 2,539 yards and 18 touchdowns against five interceptions but Houston ranks just 25th in scoring offense (22.2).
The Texans are 29th in total defense (409.1) and perennial star defensive end J.J. Watt has a team-best four sacks.
With top runner David Johnson (concussion) sidelined, Houston is hoping to get production from Duke Johnson (3.1 average) but he missed Wednesday’s practice due to an illness. Receiver Kenny Stills (back) is ailing and he has experienced a down season so far with just 11 catches.
Patriots at Texans Betting Pick for Week 11
Patriots coach Bill Belichick is well aware the Texans can’t stop the run so Harris should receive a heavy workload with reliable Rex Burkhead (six total touchdowns) being worked in. Of course, Newton’s legs are always ready to inflict some damage, especially since his arm isn’t supplying the production.
The Texans are putting up a fight under interim coach Romeo Crennel, who knows the New England system well from his time working under Belichick. But Watson can’t win games by himself and that too often has become part of his job description.
Patriots at Texans Betting Pick:
Patriots 23, Texans 14
Patriots at Texans Best Bet for Week 11
New England badly needs a third straight win as it chases a playoff berth and the Texans’ defense doesn’t match up well with New England’s ability to run the ball.
Houston figures to keep it close but the Patriots will be able to control the clock and this contest figures to fall under the total.
Patriots at Texans Best Bet: UNDER 49 total points (-115)