2016 Season Blog.

Pats Vs Houston.

7-Things For Saturday Night.


Greetings Pats Fans,

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Pats Win.


5. Offensive Explosion- The Houston offense is really their Achilles heel.  "I mean, Coach O'Brien and George Godsey, the offensive coordinator, are two guys that I have the most respect for in the entire league. These guys work extremely hard to get their team ready to go and prepare," Patricia said. "You can really see from an offensive standpoint, they're doing a great job right now of running the ball, controlling the game. They didn't turn the ball over, they really don't give up that many pressures and they're just doing a good job of getting the ball around to their skill players. So I think the biggest difference is really they have very good balance in their offense." They gave the ball a ton to Lamar Miller, and he garnered over a 1,000-yards even though he missed the last two games of the Regular Season.

They need Miller to take as much pressure as he can off of Osweiler. "Again, they're going to come in and control the game from the standpoint of the run game. Miller is doing an excellent job of handling the run game and they do a variety of different things with the runs, a little bit different maybe than before," Patricia said. "They have a good zone scheme combined with some schemed runs they'll try to diagram up and go against the defense and really do a good job of attacking there. Again, Blue, Grimes, all those guys will be in there ready to go for the run game." Like all QBs, Osweiler is more effective when they can run play action.

Because they do have some weapons on offense, and I think Hopkins is in the top handful WRs in the game. "I would say after that and with the skill players, they're doing an excellent job of getting the ball moved around to their different skill [players]," Patricia said. "Hopkins is obviously a tremendous wide receiver. A huge problem for us to handle him in the passing game. I would say with him also you're going to see him in some different positions maybe than you saw him in the early part of the year. They'll put him inside, they'll put him outside. [He's] just a huge target for them: great hands, very strong, explosive player. The ability for them to move him around a little bit adds a whole other dimension to their offense from that standpoint." He is the guy the Pats secondary wants to take out of the Offense, and make them play left handed.

Which is one of the reasons why their tight ends were so effective last week "I would say the tight ends, too," Patricia said. "I mean, I know Coach [BB] just talked about them but Fiedorowicz, Griffin, and Anderson. These guys are very consistent, very steady players and what you see more is in those critical types of situations, whether it's red area or third down or whatever the case may be, these guys are showing up more and more." I though those guys did a great job getting wide open short to create easy throws for Osweiler.

The problem is that we don't know if we are getting the good Brook or the bad Brock. He is so wildly inconsistent that he has to be giving Billy-O an ulcer. The one way that I can honestly see Houston staying in this game is Osweiler getting hot late like he did in Denver.

Of course the difference from last year is that the Pats O-line is healthy, wealthy, and wise this year. The Houston defense is not going to be able to harass Brady like the Broncos defense did last year. But that doesn't mean that Osweiler isn't going to have an inflated amount of confidence in this game. He can get hot and cause some problems.

Especially if they get the run game going. "So I think they've done a great job of really identifying their strengths, getting the ball to their skill players, controlling the game with the run game, allowing the quarterback to do a great job of identifying what the defense is in and trying to make sure they're in the right play to get a positive gain or take advantage of whatever they see from a pre-snap look," Patricia said. "I'll say one of the other differences [from the last game is] there's a little bit of tempo with the offense now. There's going to be some at the line of scrimmage offense that they try to run and try to catch the defense in a particular look, which obviously gives you a lot of problems in pace and tempo and snap counts and all those different things too, so it's a huge challenge. Obviously, these guys are playing extremely well. They've played into a really good kind of understanding of what they are and how they win." Though I don't think even if Osweiler gets hot that he can keep it up all game.

If the Pats D can create some turnovers than this game will be over early. "Without trying to leave too much of the game plan out there, obviously getting pressure on any quarterback helps us," Harmon said. "If we're able to do that in the front without blitzing the house or doing anything crazy that really helps us. Putting pressure on him helps out those guys on the back end with their hands full with Fuller and Hopkins and all those speed guys back there. Obviously if we can get pressure, especially in the middle, that will really help make him feel uncomfortable." Houston really has to play a perfect game on offense to win, and that is just too difficult to do on a cold New England night.

6. Defensive Explosion- Texans are number 1 in total defense, which means they can win any game they play in. "They're definitely a challenging defense," Edelman said. "Statistically, they lead the lot and are in the top rankings of pretty much everything. It's one of those things where we have another day to prepare, which we're going to do, and take advantage of that day to go out and play our best football on [Saturday]." Statistically they are the number one defense.

They have allowed the least amount of 1st downs. They gave the 11th least amount of points. They also finished 2nd against the pass in the Regular season. However, they are oddly 26th in the NFL in Turnovers with only 17. Which is an odd stat for the Number One Defense.

Meanwhile the Pats D has created 14 TOs in the last six games alone, and 23 total TOs on the season. "Just the style we were playing, different calls," Harmon said. "We were just able to cause more turnovers. I don't really know how to explain it. Just more or less the play calls. We just talk more on it during practice. They had more drills on it, so this really turned out and worked well for us." Besides the score, turnovers are the most important stat in a game.

If the Pats don't turn the ball over then they will win this game easy. "There's been some good and some bad, and we're going to have to play well for 60 minutes. I think that's what it comes down to for this game," Brady said. "There are going to be plays that we don't make, there are going to be plays that we make, and I think we just have to stay consistent for the entire game. There have been some ups this year, there have been some downs. You'd like to be, on every play, perfect, but that's not the way it always goes. We're going to go out there and try to do our best." The Patriots just have to be consistent to win this game, while Houston has to be exceptional.

Houston has some terrific players on defense that can cause problems for the Offense, but if the Pats can rush over a 100-yards they will win this game. "You know he had a great season. I think he really dedicated himself this year and it's really paid off," Brady said about Blount. "Just to see what he's accomplished as an individual with the amount of rushing touchdowns, his yards-per-carry. He's got a great camaraderie with the offensive line. I love being with him. He's a great teammate. He's a great friend and he's just been a great player for our team.

"So our backfield has really been a strength as well with what James provides as a sub-back, with Dion Lewis, him coming back and the role that he plays, the leadership of Brandon Bolden even though he doesn't have much opportunity at running back, what he does for us on special teams and when he does play running back he does a great job. That's been a great position for us this season as well." The good news is that Houston gave up a tick under a 100-yards in rush defense a game during the Regular Season.

They had elite run defense against the Raiders last week. But their game plan was to stop the run first, and let the rookie QB throw the ball. They will not have that luxury this week. If they stack up against the run, Brady will carve them up.

7. Pats Win- If Houston doesn't create turnovers I have a hard time seeing how they win this game. "I think we all evolve as the season goes on. Playing a game that early in the season, I mean, there are some things you learn from it, but honestly, they've improved in a lot of different areas," McDaniel said. "This is a defense that doesn't give you anything easy. You're going to have to execute a lot of plays to drive the ball and get points. They make you earn everything you get: first down, second down, third down, red zone, short yardage, very few big plays allowed." Which is fine, that is how the Pats offense usually works.

Just keep chipping downfield over and over and don't make the long drive and not the big mistakes. "They're physical, they're aggressive," McDaniels said. "There have been a few scheme tweaks here and there that we're going to have to deal with. They're always going to test you with some exotics in the game plan that aren't easy to prepare for or maybe you haven't even seen. You're talking about a team that's first in total defense, which that says enough. Second in passing yards, top 10 in all the main categories: red zone, third down, points allowed." But their style of defense seems to match the Pats style of offense.

Brady will read the defense and dink and dunk all day if that is what it takes to win. "It's going to be a big challenge for us. They've already won a playoff game," McDaniels said. "They should have a lot of confidence, deservingly so, based on the way they've played. They've gotten better and better throughout the course of the season. We know how well-coached they are with Romeo and Billy and their whole entire defensive staff. They do a tremendous job and this will be a tremendous challenge for us on Saturday night." Plus, the Pats should be able to get the run game going, and that just makes Brady better.

I am not all-in on the blow-out scenario. It sees every year everybody in New England predicts the blow out. And maybe I'm just trying to find a way for the Pats to be challenged, because it happens. Just because one team is much better on paper, that doesn't mean they will be better on the field. Just look at the FBS Champ Game.

But this one really is a tough game to find a way for Houston to win. Even it things go Houston's way in the whole 1st Half, then it turns into nighttime. The problem Houston has to face is that they are not at home. In a dome. In Texas?

The low Saturday has been forecasted to be 17. By the 2nd Half the temps should be in the 20s, which is a giant big whoop for New Englanders, but a huge deal for a Texas team. I just don't see how a team from Texas comes into Foxboro in January, for a night game, and wins. Even if the Pats and Houston were even as teams, I still couldn't pick a team from Texas on a winter night in January, never mind a Dome team. But for some reason I think it will be closer than expected, at least in the 1st Half.

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