NEW ORLEANS - NOVEMBER 30: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots warms ups against the New Orleans Saints at Louisana Superdome on November 30, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
QB Tom Brady
The Texans haven’t been stalwarts against the pass, giving up 230+ yards per game and 20 scores on the season. Opening up running lanes against this defense will be tough, so don’t be surprised to see Brady put the ball in the air at least 40 times. That should equate to 300+ yards and at least two scores.
WRs Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd
I see no good reason to bench either of these guys this week. Welker is always a safe bet for 100 yards, and he could easily find the end zone. With Edelman headed to the IR, Lloyd should bounce back from a down week last week by finding the end zone to go along with 70+ yards.
RBs Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead
While Ridley has been the lead horse in this rushing attack for most of the year, I don’t expect him to have a big game against a stout Texans run D. Anything over about 75 yards would be gravy, but he could find the end zone on a short score. Vereen and Woodhead should see more work. Expect Vereen to rack up at least 50 yards total yards. Woodhead could see more action as well, so pencil him in for 40 yards too.
TE Aaron Hernandez
Houston hasn’t been great when asked to defend the tight end this year, so Hernandez could be primed for a big game. He’ll see plenty of snaps and could approach 100 yards and a score.
New England Defense/Special Teams
This is the one area that brings the most concern. The Texans are effective running the ball, and they have one of the best playaction games in the league. They don’t put up video game numbers like the Patriots, but they keep the sticks moving and avoid costly mistakes. Don’t expect more than one sack and one turnover. They should score in the 20s.