Patriots-Texans Game Day notebook: roster elevations, game prediction and more

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The New England Patriots traveled to the Lone Star State to face the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 10 in week five of the 2021 NFL season.

The Patriots will face Houston for the seventh consecutive year in the regular season and for the third consecutive year in Houston, Texas. Overall, the Patriots have met Houston 13 times and have a 10-3 advantage since Houston joined the NFL in 2002. The Pats are 8-3 in the regular season and 2-0 in the playoffs. playoffs against the Texans. The Patriots are 3-3 overall against the Texans when they played in Houston, including a 27-20 loss on November 22, 2020.

Viewing / Listening:

TELEVISION

This week’s game will be broadcast on CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Andrew Catalon will handle play-by-play duties with James Lofton as color analyst. Amanda Balionis will work behind the scenes.

RADIO

98.5 The Sports Hub is the flagship station of the Patriots Radio Network. A complete list of the 35 stations in the network is available here. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak providing color analysis. The game will be produced by Marc Cappello.

Patriots roster moves and elevations:

New England have placed right tackle Trent Brown on the injured reserve, which means he will miss at least three games. The 28-year-old had not trained all week, saying he suffered a setback while treating his calf injury. Brown hasn’t taken a regular-season snapshot since leaving New England’s first week game with the Miami Dolphins at the start of the first quarter.

As a result, the Patriots elevated offensive linemen Alex Redmond and rookie Will Sherman of the practice squad as standard elevations. They also got two COVID roster substitutes, which went to offensive lineman James Ferentz and defensive back Myles Bryant.

Movements and elevations of the Texans list:

The Texans placed veteran offensive tackle Marcus Cannon on the injured list on Saturday with a back injury. Cannon, 33, acquired in a Patriots trade this offseason, is struggling with a painful disc problem that has caused sciatica, sources say. Houston reserve lineman Charlie Heck is expected to replace him as right tackle Sunday against New England.

Meanwhile, the Texans have bred backup quarterback Jeff Driskel as a COVID-19 replacement, with defensive tackle Ross Blacklock on the reserve-COVID-19 list. Driskel will support rookie starter Davis Mills, while Tyrod Taylor remains in the injured reserve with hamstring strain.

The Texans also elevated wide receiver and special teams contributor Chris Moore as standard elevation.

Patriot Maven Game Prediction:

Essential in case of infringement:

With the Patriots starting a makeshift offensive line on Sunday, the focus will be on removing the ball quickly from Mac Jones’ hands. This likely means a heavy dose of Damien Harris and the running game, as well as using tight ends in short distance situations. Houston is playing a soft zone at two depths, leaving plenty of opportunities for the types of short, undercut passes Jones completed with great efficiency. When Jones searches for a receiver, Jakobi Meyers will likely be his first and most reliable option, followed by Kendrick Bourne in the slot. It’s also worth noting that Houston’s pass defense is a bit better than advertised, allowing opposing receivers the ninth fewer PPR points this season. Therefore, tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry should look for short distance gains, especially in the red zone.

Essential on Defense:

Put simply, New England need to disrupt the productivity of Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks slightly. The former Pats speedster is one of Houston’s most targeted offensive receivers, as well as the league. As such, he thinks he gets frequent stares from Texans quarterback Davis Mills. However, Cooks will likely be paired with Pats cornerback JC Jackson. Following Stephon Gilmore’s trade to the Panthers, Jackson is playing with extra motivation this week. Speaking to the media on Thursday, Jackson seemed determined to keep Cooks within reach at all times, vowing to play him both fast and physically. As Bill Belichick is known to take away his opponent’s greatest strength, it’s likely that Jackson (with slot corner Jonathan Jones and some help from safeties) will limit Cooks’ hits on Sunday.

Final analysis:

Despite the Patriots’ woes along the offensive line, Jones should be able to find enough space to operate and move the ball effectively. However, if the Patriots are to succeed on Sunday, it will be on the strength of their defense. Houston struggled to move the ball to the ground. The Davon Godchaux, Lawrence Guy and Christian Barmore trio should be effective in limiting the Texans’ ground attack. As a result, the Pats’ pass rush should be able to confuse and put pressure on quarterback Davis Mills. While Houston isn’t making it easy, the Pats will do just enough to return to the winning column in Week 5.

Final score prediction: Patriots 17, Texans 14


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