Houston (2-0) at New England (2-0)
When: Thursday, September 22nd 2016
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
Time: 8:30 ET | TV: CBS
The New England Patriots will dig deep into their QB depth chart for their Week 3 contest against the Houston Texans in Foxborough on Thursday Night Football. Already missing Tom Brady for the first four weeks due to a suspension, the Patriots turned to Jimmy Garoppolo for the first two games and he did fantastic until he got hurt in the second half in last week’s 31-24 victory over Miami. In stepped rookie Jacoby Brissett out of North Carolina State. Brissett was a modest 6-of-9 for 92 yards, but now he must prepare for one of the best defenses in football on short rest. While Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) has yet to make his season debut, fellow tight end Martellus Bennett has made his mark since being acquired from Chicago in the offseason. The veteran has played on all but two offensive snaps over the first two games and hauled in a 20-yard touchdown on Sunday. Running back LeGarrette Blount has amassed 193 yards and two touchdowns this season, but left a 27-6 victory over Houston on December 13th last season with a hip ailment that landed him on injured reserve.
The Texans bring the NFL’s third-ranked defense into Thursday’s contest after allowing just 26 points total in their first two victories against Chicago and Kansas City at home. Three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt collected 1.5 sacks in a 19-12 win over the Chiefs on Sunday and linebacker Whitney Mercilus has two this season and 17 in his last 14 games overall. Brock Osweiler, who signed a four-year, $72 million contract in the offseason, has overcome a first-quarter interception in both games only to regroup and give the Texans a 2-0 start. Pro-Bowler DeAndre Hopkins leads the team with 12 catches and two scores, while first-round rookie Will Fuller has a team-high 211 receiving yards to become the third WR to start his NFL career with two straight 100-yard receiving games. Lamar Miller leads the run game and has 53 carries on the year so far – second only to Pittsburgh’s DeAngelo Williams.
I don’t believe Brissett will be ready for this game no matter how good Bill Belichick is with his quarterbacks. The Texans are a solid team and they finally have a quarterback they’re comfortable with. I think Houston gets the upset win on the road here.
Pick: Texans -1