The Patriots will look to continue their winning ways this weekend against a bad football team. The Houston Texans have two wins this season and both came against the Jaguars. So after taking it to Baltimore last week can the Patriots keep this going? Here are the players to keep an eye on, along with the keys to another win.
New England will still be without Julian Edelman, but Jakobi Meyers is making the most of his situation. Meyers has been great, whether he’s catching the ball, running routes or throwing touchdowns he’s done it all. He has also been much better blocking, he will still get tossed to the ground every now and then due to his frame, but overall his blocking has improved immensely. Cam Newton trusts Meyers and will continue to look his way, while other receivers need to step up to keep the wins coming.
Damien Harris will be an X-factor as well, he’s an impressive running back that gets better the more he plays. So if the Patriots can continue to feed him touches Harris is going to have another big day. He allows the offense to open up, which is something this team needs, they can’t be one dimensional. Harris runs angry and doesn’t play around in the backfield, he makes a decision and runs hard.
So far on offense it looks like it will be the usual suspects of Damien Harris and Jakobi Meyers to keep your eye on. The young players are really exciting to watch, but for Cam to be successful, the offensive line must be ready on Sunday.
New England’s offensive line will be tested by JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus. The duo can wreak havoc on opposing offenses, so Cam will need to be alert. Houston has one of the best linebacker duos in the league. Zack Cunningham is one of the top players at his position, he’s a versatile linebacker who’s known for his coverage skills. He is also a tackling machine, who is now one of the best run defenders at his position. Beandrick McKinney is more of a traditional run stopping linebacker.
The Patriots are getting their best defensive player back this weekend. Stephon Gilmore will finally return to the field after being out with a knee issue. The Texans have a legitimate QB in Deshaun Watson who has some speedy players at his disposal. So Gilmore’s return will help in the passing game, where Watson has wide receivers like Brandin Cooks and Will Fuller who can stretch the defense and make plays after the catch. Of course the Patriots have J.C. Jackson who has been outstanding all year. Jackson has five straight games with an interception and will be looking to keep that streak going.
The Patriots secondary with Gilmore and Jackson should be able to handle Houston’s offensive attack. New England matching speed with speed using Jonathan Jones is another matchup to watch.
The Texans are banged up at running back, with David Johnson on IR and Duke Johnson dealing with an illness, containing Watson will be a important task.
OTHER NOTES AND PREDICTIONS
Sony Michel will be suiting up for Sunday’s game after missing time, he will add more firepower on the ground.
Keep an eye out for the Patriots new tight end Jordan Thomas, who started practicing this week. Thomas is an experienced veteran who could provide a big red zone target for Cam Newton.
As I said earlier, someone else is going to have to step up offensively and give Cam a new target. If the Pats can add another reliable playmaker it could change the entire offense.
Newton has played well recently, he needs to take care of the football and limit negative plays for the Pats to get another win.
Each week I make a few predictions that have seemed to come true recently, so hopefully the streak continues this week. First things first, The Patriots beat Houston 31-17. Cam Newton has a big day with 2 passing touchdowns, 200 yards passing, and 50 yards rushing. Sony Michel will be returning but it will still be Damien Harris getting 120 yards, with a touchdown. J.C. Jackson will continue his interception streak and make it six straight games. Jakobi Meyers has arrived and he’s not going anywhere this week, with 120 yards receiving and a touchdown he will continue to be the Patriots go to guy.
The Patriots are getting on track, enjoy the game.
–Michael Quilty is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sport Media and covers the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @boston_sp0rts20