Found December 10, 2012 on Metta Chronicles:
The NFL saved the best for this weekend as the New England Patriots host the Houston Texans on Monday night. There is a wealth of talent on both sides of the field and the outcome just might depend on which team is more calm and composed down the stretch. The Patriots have years and years of big-game experience on their side, while the Texans strive to someday reach those same heights. AccuScore simulations heavily favor the Patriots at 61 percent with the average score 27-23. Houston will be looking for a seventh straight ATS win as the underdog in this match-up. The Patriots project to have a 48 percent chance of covering the -4 spread, but win nearly 35 percent of the time by 10 points or more. The total for the game is set at 50.5 points and has a 54.3 percent chance of going under. New England is coming off a 23-16 win over Miami. Like the Texans, they have won six games in a row. While the Pats scored just 23 points last week, they were averaging 47.5 points per game over their four previous games. Their number one ranked offense (35.8 PPG) is set to face Houston’s number four ranked defense. The Patriots average 285.5 yards through the air, but the Texans allow on average just 235 yards. The simulations project 281 yards and a passer rating of 91.9 for quarterback Tom Brady. The probabilities indicate that his touchdown total for the game will be twice the amount of his interceptions. Brady has won his last four starts on Monday Night, and is 12-4 in 16 starts overall (276.2 pass YPG). Receiver Wes Welker is projected to be targeted the most by Brady, catching the ball eight times for 90 yards. Although he’s listed as questionable, expect him to play. He is just eight catches away from his fifth 100-catch season. Cornerback Brandon Harris will most likely line up against Welker, a match-up that favors the Patriots. Brandon Lloyd is projected to catch the ball 5 times for 68 yards. Tight end Aaron Hernandez is projected to catch for 55 yards on 4-5 receptions. He played every single offensive snap in the win over Miami last week. Earlier on Twitter, I came across an alarming stat. Over the last three weeks, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense gave up the most yards in the NFL with an average of 452 per game. The Texans are second worst (keep in mind, the last three weeks), allowing an average of 445 per game. Steven Ridley has scored a touchdown in his last five games, and there is a decent chance he finds the end zone again this week despite going up against a solid rush defense. Houston gives up just 87.6 yards per game on the ground, and has allowed just two rushing scores all season. Ridley rushed 19 times for 71 yards in last week’s win against Miami. AccuScore simulations project 79 yards on 16 carries for him. The Texans are trying to continue their incredible season as they come off a 24-10 win over Tennessee. With the win, the Texans clinched a playoff spot. Bettors, listen up: Houston is 8-4 ATS this season. The focus here will be the Houston defense and how effectively defensive end J.J. Watt can pressure Brady. There were reports earlier this week that the Patriots used rackets in practice to simulate his ability to knock down passes which Watt has done 15 passes so far this season. New England’s biggest concern will be Watt and the Texans’ 5-man rush. The Texans’ defense ranks first in the NFL in both third down stops, and red zone defense allowing league-lows of 27 trips and 12 TDs. They blitz often and Watt (16.5 sacks, 32 QB hits) has been a nightmare for the opposition all season. Houston is projected for two sacks, and a pretty solid chance at forcing a turnover. New England has similar defensive projections, but with a lower probability of sacking Matt Schaub. While New England’s focus all week has been preparing for the Houston defense, don’t forget that the Texans have some big names on offense as well. Running back Arian Foster ranks fifth in the NFL with 1,102 rushing yards. Quarterback Matt Schaub is 18-4 in his last 22 starts. They got some firepower and aren’t afraid to go for the big play. AccuScore simulations project 267 yards and a passer rating of 92.1 for Schaub. The most telling stat is that Houston has allowed just 15 sacks all year making it an incredibly tough task for the New England defense to get to Schaub. Foster is projected to rush 20 times for 81 yards. He and running back Justin Forsett split carries for much of last week’s game. Forsett is projected to carry it 5 times for 16 yards this week. The New England defense is allowing an average of 100.8 yards rushing per game. Foster, Forsett, and Ben Tate are projected to rush for approximately 116 yards together. This is a tough game to choose if betting. It’ll be a close game, and I think Houston could even get the win. New England hasn’t faced a team like Houston for a while now, but being at home is a factor too. The last time the Patriots lost at home on MNF was in 2005 to the Indianapolis Colts. I’ll take Houston and the points, but predict a New England 24-21 victory.
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