We’ve seen this before.
Once again, the Houston Texans head to Foxboro.
If anyone has familiarity with New England, it’s Houston. Head coach Bill O’Brien, assistant head coach/defenses Romeo Crennel, defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel, special teams coordinator Larry Izzo, and offensive/special teams assistant Wes Welker all have been a Patriot in some capacity as either coordinators or players.
The Texans’ rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson will not be a mystery to the Patriots, as they show him in joint practices during joint workouts and also faced him in the preseason, where he was held 3-10 passing for 102 yards.
Over the course of his tenure as head coach of the Patriots, Bill Belichick is 8-0 at home when going up against a rookie QB at the helm.
While some may feel as though defensive coordinator Matt Patricia will blitz the house to overwhelm the product from Clemson, it may be wise not to send too much pressure and focus on coverage.
On the Thursday night matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, Watson targeted star wide receiver Deandre Hopkins on 54.2% of his passes. The Patriots will more than likely employ a QB spy to contain the mobile Watson in the pocket and make him hurt them with his arm. With Stephon Gilmore covering Watson and safety help over the top, the guys that will have to hurt New England is wide receiver Braxton Miller and running back Lamar Miller.
It’s a big week for the secondary with Gillmore and Malcolm Butler, as both have been less than stellar to start the season.
Offensively, look for a lot of quick throws to limit the frightening tandem of defensive ends JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, who will be aiming to bring down quarterback Tom Brady. With running back Rex Burkhead ruled out, pass-catching backs James White and Dion Lewis should be busy in the flat this afternoon.
Patriots injury report: RB Rex Burkhead (Out), DR Vincent Valentine (Out), OT Marcus Cannon (Questionable), WR Phillip Dorsett (Questionable), S Nate Ebner (Questionable), LB Dont’a Hightower (Questionable), LB Elandon Roberts (Questionable), CB Eric Rowe (Questionable), WR Matthew Slater (Questionable), WR Danny Amendola (Probable), TE Rob Gronkowski (Probable), CB Stephon Gilmore (Probable)
Texans injury report: G Jeff Allen (Out), WR Will Fuller (Out), CB Kevin Johnson (Out), RB Alfred Blue (Questionable), NT Brandon Dunn (Questionable)