MNF Chaser: Texans-Patriots

The Patriots' offense should move the ball against a depleted Texans D

Originally Published: December 10, 2012
By Ben Fawkes | ESPN Insider
Tom BradyGreg M. Cooper/USA TODAY SportsTom Brady is having another terrific season leading a potent New England Patriots offense.

In a "Monday Night Football" game that many have had circled on the calendar for a while, the Houston Texans visit the New England Patriots tonight in a battle of two of the AFC's top teams.

For the Patriots, the injuries have started to pile up on offense. Rob Gronkowski is out for a few more games, and Julian Edelman was placed on injured reserve with a broken foot. But that hasn't stopped an offense that ranks No. 1 in the NFL with a 34.0 percent rating in Football Outsiders' DVOA rankings. Tom Brady has been exceptional this season and as Pro Football Focus notes, he's been even better against the blitz -- throwing 13 touchdowns and no interceptions with a PFF grade of plus-18.4.

The Texans have had injury issues of their own, though on the defensive side of the ball. Linebacker Brian Cushing is out for the season with a torn ACL. Fellow linebacker Brooks Reed is out for an extended period with a groin injury, cornerback Brice McCain is on IR with a broken foot, and safety Alan Ball is unlikely to play with his foot injury. Even with those players sidelined, Houston's defense is No. 2 in DVOA at minus-18.0 percent.

This season the Texans are 8-4 against the spread, while the Patriots are 7-4-1 ATS (2-3 at home). The public is backing the Patriots at a 54.8 percent clip, according to ESPN Insider's PickCenter.

Let's get line analysis from Jay Kornegay of the Las Vegas Hotel and a pick against the spread from Geoff Kulesa of Wunderdog Sports.


Houston Texans at New England Patriots

Spread: Opened Patriots minus-4.5, now Patriots minus-4
Total: Opened 51.5, now 51


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