Experts share their picks for the Patriots Week 13 matchup against the Houston Texans.
Mike Reiss, ESPN:
Pick: Patriots 23, Texans 17
Bold prediction: Brady tops his season-high total of 348 yards passing against Washington. This is a result of going against a defensive scheme he is familiar with, an increased comfort level with Isaiah Wynn back at left tackle for a second consecutive week, the projected return of receiver Phillip Dorsett II and possibly receiver Mohamed Sanu Sr., and the Texans struggling to generate consistent pressure.
Sarah Barshop, ESPN
Pick: Patriots 20, Texans 17
Can the Texans' run defense get back on track against the Patriots? New England is averaging 3.4 yards per rush, third lowest in the NFL and on pace to be the lowest in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era, according to ESPN Stats & Information. But the Texans have allowed 505 rushing yards in three games without J.J. Watt.
Mike Golic, ESPN: Patriots
Seth Wickersham, ESPN: Texans
Mina Kimes, ESPN: Patriots
Dan Graziano, ESPN: Patriots
Trey Wingo, ESPN: Texans
Kevin Seifert, ESPN: Patriots
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com
Pick: Patriots 27, Texans 24
There were signs last Sunday, glimpsed through the sideways rain, that the Patriots' offense can turn a corner. Sony Michel saw more running room than he has all season because of an offensive line buoyed by the return of tackle Isaiah Wynn. Tom Brady played well and would have finished with a better line than 17 of 37 for 190 yards and a touchdown if not for six drops on a wet day, while rookie receivers Jakobi Meyers and N'Keal Harry are making an impact. After three nasty-weather games in the previous four, the Patriots should be thrilled to play indoors against old pal Romeo Crennel and his star-free defense. This figures to be a game in which Brady needs to score, because Deshaun Watson and the multi-dimensional Texans running attack could expose New England's team speed in a Sunday Night classic Al Michaels has been waiting for. Look for Brady to be up to the task.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports:
Pick: Patriots 23, Texans 14
The Patriots are struggling on offense, but you would think they would get it going at some point. Is this the game? I think it is to some degree. The highlight here, though, will be Deshaun Watson against that New England defense, which has been outstanding. Look for the Pats to slow Watson and win a tough road game.
Jason La Canfora, CBS Sports: Patriots
Will Brinson, CBS Sports: Patriots
Dave Richard, CBS Sports: Patriots
Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports: Patriots
John Breech, CBS Sports: Patriots
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk:
Pick: Patriots 21, Texans 17
The Patriots know they have no margin for error, not with the Ravens still hot on their heels. Meanwhile, Bill O'Brien has never beaten Bill Belichick.
Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk:
Pick: Patriots 24, Texans 13
Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore is leading one of the best pass defenses we've ever seen in the NFL, and Deshaun Watson is going to struggle against them.
Jenny Vrentas, MMQB: Patriots
Conor Orr, MMQB: Patriots
Kalyn Kahler, MMQB: Texans
Andrew Brandt, MMQB: Texans
Mitch Goldich, MMQB: Texans
Bette Marston, MMQB: Patriots
Andy Hart, WEEI
Pick: Patriots 30, Texans 17
Nothing seems to come easy of late for the Patriots, and that's unlikely to change Sunday night in Houston. New England has had a razor thin margin for error and that may not change against a Texans team that despite its dismal loss in Baltimore a couple weeks ago, has proven itself capable of winning close games this season. Watson is a leader and a playmaker. The combination of Hopkins and Fuller will challenge the Patriots elite pass defense. Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson will challenge the Patriots at times rather suspect run defense. But Brady, Michel and the rest should also find a little more room to work than in recent weeks. Brady's post-game emotions have been a topic of late and this could be a week for him to feel a bit better late Sunday night. Assuming the Patriots continue to win the turnover battle and play well on third down, they earn the benefit of the doubt in terms of the key situational plays that will decide this one in the second half. New England gets back to 30 points for the first time in more than a month, returning to Foxborough with a 30-17 win over Watson's Texans.
Paul Perillo, Patriots.com:
Pick: Patriots 27, Texans 23
The running game continues to make strides as the offense takes advantage of the Texans weak defense.
Mike Dussault, Patriots.com:
Pick: Patriots 30, Texans 13
Bill O'Brien is 0-5 against the Patriots but the last two games have been closer than expected. Houston certainly has the right pieces in place on offense, but the Patriots defense can match up well. That leaves the Patriots offense, who should be ready to exploit a Houston defense that lacks the front seven impact players they've had in the past. It's post-Thanksgiving and that means we're looking at a Patriots statement game.
Erik Scalavino, Patriots.com
Pick: Patriots 20, Texans 16
Once again, New England's defense comes to the rescue, as the offense continues to find its footing. Houston is a talented team, but they routinely have trouble against Bill Belichick's Patriots, whether the game is in Foxborough or Texas. This will be another contest that goes down to the wire, with the Patriots holding on for a solid road win to remain in the driver's seat for the No. 1 playoff seed in the AFC.
Megan O'Brien, Patriots.com
Pick: Patriots 27, Texans 20
Patriots defense continues their dominance. We see two promising offensive drives.