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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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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