The Houston Texans and the New England Patriots will match up in Week 1 NFL action from Gillette Stadium on September 9.
Houston is coming off a bad year; there’s no easy way to say it. The Texans went 4-12, finishing in the basement of the AFC South. It was Houston’s first losing season since 2013, marked by injuries to key players (most notably QB Deshaun Watson).
In the preseason, the Texans came out firing. Houston won their first two games over the Chiefs (17-10) and the Niners (16-13), then fell to the Rams 21-20. In Week 4, Houston snagged a 14-6 win with a 7-3 fourth quarter versus the Cowboys.
Over on the Patriots’ side, they’re itching to get back to the AFC mountaintop. New England cruised through the regular season with a 13-3 record, taking first place in the AFC East (again), winning the Divisional Playoffs and the AFC Championship (again). In the Super Bowl, the Pats lost a classic against Philly 41-33.
In preseason activity, New England took their first two games 26-17 versus the Redskins and 37-20 in a not-really Super Bowl rematch versus Philly. After falling to the Panthers 25-14 in Week 3, the Pats managed a 17-12 win over the Giants in the final game.
The Texans are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games in September and 1-4 in their last five road games. Houston is 0-5 ATS in their last five games overall and 0-4 ATS in their last four versus the AFC.
Meanwhile, the Pats are 21-7 ATS in their last 28 versus the AFC and 6-2 ATS in their last eight games in September. New England is also 36-17-2 ATS in their last 55 games overall and 1-4 ATS in their last five games in Week 1.
Houston is a trendy pick as an AFC playoff candidate, and their defense is something to reckon with. That said, I think it’s going to take a few weeks for the Texans to hit their proverbial stride and they likely won’t dominate at Gillette (no visitors dominate there). The Pats have the advantage of familiarity pretty much in all facets, but I doubt they’ll start out strong either. Long story short, I’m going to take the Patriots here but it’s a really sketchy game to bet on.