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Texans or Patriots? Bloggers debate who will cover

Week 14’s clash between the Houston Texans and New England Patriots is the biggest Monday Night Football game of the year. Both teams are vying for the top spot in the AFC with the playoffs closing in and books have set the host Patriots as 5.5-point favorites.

To get a better grip on both sides, we’ve enlisted the help of expert blogs for each team. Stephanie Stradley of Texans blog “TexansChick” and Joe Soriano of Patriots blog “Musket Fire” put on the pads and go head-to-head about which side will cover the spread on Monday Night Football.

THREE REASONS WHY HOUSTON WILL COVER



Stephanie Stradley writes TexansChick, a blog for the Houston Chronicle. You can follow her on Twitter @StephStradley and check out her blog at StephStradley.com.

Balance

The Texans are a more balanced team offensively and defensively than the Patriots. Traditional statistics hide the explosiveness of the Texans offense. They haven't had to engage in many shootouts because their defense has been good enough that there has been no need to run many risky plays on offense. The Patriots are used to playing against teams that can't keep up with them offensively and/or unable to beat them defensively. The Texans’ balance presents challenges to any team, including the Patriots.

Time of possession

Since the beginning of the season, the Texans have led the league in time of possession (excluding OT) at almost 34 minutes per game. They also lead the league in road time of possession at 33:49. The offense is unusual, difficult to prepare for and often wears teams down by the second half with their predominantly zone-blocking scheme.

Though Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, and Owen Daniels are the “name” targets on offense, it’s hard to key on any player defensively because they have so many targets and Matt Schaub distributes the ball well. Even when the Texans offense doesn't have successful plays early, having to defend the best play action in the league can wear down defensive lines by the end of the game, softening them up for more of the running game in the second half.

Injuries favor Houston


Statistically, this game is strength versus strength in many ways. Probably the biggest distinguishing feature is that the Patriots’ special teams is much better than the Texans this year, but with the loss of returner/WR Julian Edelman for the season, that advantage is eroded.

The Texans are the best road team in the league at 6-0 and will likely be getting a number of their defensive starters back who missed all or part of the last two games. The Patriots survived against the Dolphins last week with Brady being sacked four times, but with additional injuries to the offense and facing a better defense, perhaps it becomes too much. Brady only targeted five players last week and one of those targets was Edelman.

THREE REASONS WHY NEW ENGLAND WILL COVER




Joe Soriano is the lead editor for Musket Fire. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @Musket_Fire.

Key players getting healthy

Logan Mankins and Chandler Jones are back practicing and all indications are that both of them will be able to play against the Texans. Jones hasn’t only been the Pats’ top pass rusher but his work in run defense has been especially notable. If the Patriots are going to be able to put a stranglehold on the Texans’ running game, then they will need Jones at his best. Mankins has been dealing with injuries all season, but he's still a solid player even when not at his best.

Aaron Hernandez is also back and his big game against the Miami Dolphins (eight catches, 97 yards) was the first time the star tight end truly looked healthy since the season opener. He's going to be a difficult weapon for the Texans to stop.

Digging down deep

The Texans struggle to cover the slot, which is a glaring weakness when facing Wes Welker. The Patriots love spreading the ball around and they are going to take deep shots to Donte' Stallworth and Brandon Lloyd. The Texans struggle against No. 2 receivers out wide, so Stallworth does pose a threat.

Houston is susceptible to the deep ball and the secondary hasn’t been at its best lately. In fact, they have allowed nearly 450 yards per game over the past three weeks. They also lead the league in time of possession, which is another reason why the Pats need to assess the passing game.

What a rush


Both teams feature two of the top run defenses in the NFL and it's difficult to say which team has the best one. However, the Pats’ running game is probably the most clutch in the NFL. The Pats have the best rushing conversion in the NFL on third and fourth downs at 90 percent. They also average more yards per attempt and hold opponents to fewer yards per attempt.

The Patriots lead the league with 19 rushing touchdowns and 116 first downs, while the Texans have 16 TDs on the ground and 95 first downs despite running the ball 12 more times. They average more yards per game but they aren’t as efficient as the Patriots are on the ground.

Join the debate. Which team - Texans or Patriots - covers on Monday Night Football?

If you have any feedback or suggestions for our Editorial Team, please contact us at Editorial

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Posted by rexside
1 year ago

Houston lucky they got a touch down. I thought they were like arizona for a second.
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Posted by rexside
1 year ago

Houston lucky they got a touch down. I thought they were like arizona for a second.
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Posted by madulamaximus
1 year ago

There is no IF,,,,,t being sharp.....sharp is a state of being.......there are times when even the linemakers are not sharp.........so whats the point?......lol
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Posted by ebelisle22
1 year ago

LOL at everyone backing the patriots. if youre sharp youll take texans
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Posted by madulamaximus
1 year ago

true stupidity has spoke.......LOL.............the jokes on yu......im cunting an extra 1700......how bout you .....lol
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Posted by SportsPredictor
1 year ago

Recent comparisons: New England lost to Baltimore 30-31. But Houston able to Blow-out Baltimore 43-13! New England 1-4 vs. spread their last 5 games in December! Houston 6-0 vs. point spread last 6 road games, against a team with a winning home record! And Texans now 6-0 vs. point spread as underdogs! Houston 34 at New England 27! GL to ALL either way!
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Posted by gamewine
1 year ago

pats win tease the pats and over 36 20
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Posted by madulamaximus
1 year ago

This writer campaigning in favor of the books. My factors have been mentioned....1) 6-0 on the road...due for a loss...2) 6 GAME WINNING STREAK.....3) Inferior teams scoring 30+ recently. 4) Two out of last three overtime wins. 5) Last meeting BEAT BILL AND BRADY 34-27....PAYBACK WILL BE A girl VS. PATS.....6)STANDINGS!!!! nothing to gain for Texans at 11-1.....7!!!!!!.......read 1 thru 6 again. If those are not enough factors for a big game play......you new at this. PATRIOTS 52......TEXANS 24. CASHDAT!!!!!.......MADMAX
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Posted by betipickem
1 year ago

the texans are 11-1 who cares when your facing the patriots on a monday night in foxborough. texans havent played a time of this calibur in 2 years almost when the ravens put them out the playoffs. Do you really wanna let the 11-1 record to presuade you to put your money where it doesnt belong? Thats on the texans. The patriots defense is coming along, with the addition of talib. The texans were beaten bad by the packers on there home field. I know many people dislike the patriots but you dont go betting against them on a primetime monday night game. Its like betting against jordan in game 7. patriots- 31 texan- 26
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Posted by trickplay
1 year ago

TEXANS WIN IN OVERTIME LOW SCORE TAKE THE UNDER EVERYBODY IS BETTING THE OVER SO THE HOUSE WILL WIN.....TEXANS/UNDER WINNER WINNER..WINNER.
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Posted by madulamaximus
1 year ago

WOW......MADMAX IS BACK IN THE FORUM FOR THIS ONE.....OBVIOUSLY YOU WILL BE 0 AND 2 ON THAT CALL. READ MY REASONING. 11-1 ....6 AND 0 ON THE ROAD!!!!......BRADY AND BILL...LOST 34-27 LAST MEETING. its like montana and walsh combo reincarnated.THIS IS A......CAKEWALKWILLIE PLAY. SEE YOU AT THE PAY WINDOW PAL.
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Posted by madulamaximus
1 year ago

BOTTOMLINE......TEXANS 11-1..........PATS 9-3. TEXANS 6GAME WIN STREAK. LAST 2 OUT OF 3 OVERTIME WINS. JAGS SCORED 37 ON TEXANS. TEXANS WON. Texans @ Detroit overtime win. Detroit scores 31!!!........FINAL KICKER.....TEXANS ARE 6-0 ON THE ROAD. ............HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LAST TIME THE 2 TEAMS MET ....37-24 TEXANS!!!!!!............................$500 SAYS............PATRIOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND THE OVERS!!!!!!!!!!!. ........Get your xmas money, rent or mortgage, carnote and put it on PATRIOTS!!!!!!!......AND!!!!!!! THE OVERS!!!!!!!!!!!!...........PREDICTION....PATRIOTS 52!!!!...........TEXANS!!!!24!!!!!!!!!!!!......................CASHDAT garbage.......ON MOMMAS
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Posted by nc1capper
1 year ago

Brady and the hood vs Kubiak and schaub,,,,uh,,,PATS
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Posted by SlapUwthisBanga
1 year ago

it means this female is representing the sheep, so unless u tryin to get slaughtered with her and those people that she heard say the same things that she is say before she even thought to say it, take NE -5. But she did prove that she knows how to use the Final Scores to build a 100% win %. I bet her stocks are all up over 100% from where she bought shares at too. She could appear smarter by just saying that she pick ALL THE WINNERS TODAY, BUT she sounds much more honest by naming each game winner. she either still LOLing the halls at High School or she's retard with speeach impediments....I see NE def being what Belicheck is trying to show the world is better than the majority that he compete head-to=-head against.
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Posted by Canucklehead33
1 year ago

Are you ok? Do you need an ambulance or maybe some water? Have a seat, clear your head and then try typing. Then the rest of us may be able to understand whatever garbage you're attempting to spew out.
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Posted by Girlgetum
1 year ago

Now from a female perspective I believe that The Texans will manage to over come putting a spanking on Patriots the Monday night. So far I've been right with my week 14 picks. Such as Broncos, Redskins beating Ravens, Rams beating the Bills, Jets, Colts, Cowgirls oops I meant Cowboys, Seahawks what an amazing day. Oh yeah did I mention the Eagles, Pack-head, Browns. Need I go on! Patriots are a good team but do they really have the ammo to take on the Texans lets see...
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Posted by cy2828
1 year ago

what does this even mean?
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Posted by Canucklehead33
1 year ago

Huh?
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Top Response

Posted by SportsPredictor
1 year ago

"Recent comparisons: New England lost to Baltimore 30-31. But Houston able to Blow-out Baltimore 43-13! New England 1-4 vs. spread their last 5 games in December! Houston 6-0 vs. point spread last 6 road games, against a team with a winning home r..."