Monday, December 10, 2012

Week 14 AFC East game picks: Texans at Patriots

Lead writer Nick St. Denis and AFC East Daily contributors Dan Begnoche and Sean Donovan pick the New England Patriots matchup with the fellow AFC powerhouse Houston Texans.

Nick's take:
These two teams are living proof of the importance of turnovers. There's a reason why they're No. 1 and No. 2 in turnover differential in the AFC and the two best squads in the conference, Denver aside. The same goes for third down, where the Patriots rank first on offense and the Texans on defense. Winning those two categories will decide this game in favor of the Patriots.
Prediction: Patriots 24, Texans 21

Dan's take:
It's tough to pick against a team that averages 36 points a game, but hey, someone has to. Houston has been unstoppable on the road. The Texans' defense has accumulated 36 sacks already and is posting near-record numbers on third down. This one may be a more defensive game on both sides of the field than expected, but only if Houston can hang with the league's most dangerous offense for more than a half.
Prediction: Texans 24, Patriots 20

Sean's take:
The Texans, even though they're still winning, look like a team that peaked too early. Their recent wins were close against sub-par competition, but that changes quickly as they head to New England to take on a red-hot Tom Brady. Last week, Brady fell victim to some bad drops and unexpected pressure, but a better gameplan and sharper play from the Patriots' skill players helps him come out on top in primetime.
Prediction: Patriots 31, Texans 21