New England, a squad that is in first place in the East Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) with a Won-Lost record of 10-2 has first place “locked up,” but is in a tight battle for best conference record which it needs if it wants to host playoff games.
The Patriots have lost their last two games due in large part to key injuries to important offensive players like Rob Gronkowski. Additional losses, beginning in this weekend’s game against the Houston Texans, could rob the team from Massachusetts of home field advantage in the postseason. That would make the road to the Super Bowl much more difficult.
The Houston Texans have playoff aspirations and a chance to fulfill them. This squad, which plays in the South Division of the AFC, has a Won-Loss record of 6-6 and is currently “on the outside looking in” when it comes to a playoff berth. But, the Texans have dramatically improved their on-field performances in recent weeks and enter this game against the current Super Bowl champions as the “hot team.”
New England will very likely face off against Houston this Sunday without many of its key offensive players out and an offensive line that is having difficulty protecting quarterback Tom Brady. If the recent trend continues, if Brady has to “run for his life” to avoid getting sacked, Houston could emerge with a critically important victory.
But Tom Brady is arguably the best quarterback in the National Football League (NFL). His ability to “see the field” and make quick decisions can help him avoid sacks against a hungry and determined defense that features elite pass rusher JJ Watt. Of course, Brady is 38 years old and has lost a little bit of the agility quarterbacks need to evade pass rushers.
So it will be interesting to see if New England will be able to overcome personnel shortages to topple a desperate home team that needs to win this game to remain relevant and in the hunt for a chance to play meaningful football in January.
Clearly, this is one of the more interesting contests on this week’s full slate of sixteen football games because it pits two very good teams against one another in “must-win” mode. And although the Texans are the healthier team and the squad that will be performing in front of its own fan base, the Patriots still have Tom Brady throwing passes and Head Coach Bill Belichick calling plays.
The two of them have enjoyed lots of success over the past decade and there is every reason to believe that they will find a way to overcome their squad’s deficiencies and win this game. Of course, Houston needs to win this game, too and it will not be easy to defeat it.
Its desperation should make this contest special.
Courtesy of Patriotsgab.com