BOSTON (CBS) — Once again, the nation’s eyes will focus on the New England Patriots this week, as they play their fifth prime-time game of the season. This time, it’ll be a trip to Houston on Sunday Night Football.
The Patriots sit at 10-1, but with the red-hot 9-2 Ravens hot on their tail, they have virtually no room for error if they want to finish the season as the AFC’s No. 1 seed.READ MORE: Break-In Suspect Killed In Shootout With Seekonk Police Identified As Jeffrey Groulx
The Texans, meanwhile, are 7-4. They’re only a game ahead of the Colts in the AFC South, so they too can’t be taking any games lightly at this time of year.
Here’s how our team of experts sees things playing out on Sunday.
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV Sports
The Patriots take their show on the road, where Houston may have a problem. The Patriots are three-point favorites over the Texans, but they may win by more than a touchdown.
The Pats are starting to get their run game going, and having Isaiah Wynn back on the offensive line is a big reason why. Both Jakobi Meyers and N’Keal Harry are starting to earn Tom Brady’s trust, and when that happens, this offense can be dangerous. It hasn’t been yet, but it’s heading in that direction.
Having already played Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens, the Patriots should be ready for what Deshaun Watson has to offer. He can hurt you with his arm and his legs.
But the Pats are well coached and should be ready, and around this time of year, be thankful for that.
Patriots 28, Texans 21
Levan Reid, WBZ-TV Sports
I feel like the Pats play the Houston Texans every year, and every season, I’m conflicted about the game.
Earlier in the season, when the Pats were playing better, I thought this was the game that might trip them up. I don’t feel that way now.
The Texans are very good but they are also very inconsistent. The Patriots have gotten pretty good at winning these close-game rock fights, and this will fall in that category.READ MORE: 'Your Life Does Not End Because You Have A Diagnosis': Shantel Smith Opens Up About Her Battle With Multiple Sclerosis Before 'Survivor'
Also, I’m hoping the Pats started something by getting the running game going and expanding roles in the offense. Expect to see a Mohamed Sanu, Phillip Dorsett offensive package and a rookie package of N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers.
Pats defense will do their job and the Patriots will get the win.
Patriots 21, Texans 13.
Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
The Texans’ passing defense is terrible, so we’ll finally see the Patriots start to look like the Patriots that we’ve known all these years. I don’t like Bill O’Brien in a prime-time spot vs. the Patriots and his old boss, and I have no choice but to like the Patriots’ defense against just about anybody right now.
A very Patriot-like win is on the docket.
Patriots 30, Texans 17
Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
Watching the Patriots defense go up against Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller is going to be quite the spectacle. Gilmore vs. Hopkins or Fuller is going to be Must See TV on Sunday night.
But I don’t expect this one to be as close as New England’s last two games. Houston has a truly awful passing defense, surrendering nearly 260 passing yards per game. They’ve given up 22 passing touchdowns in 11 games. Tom Brady and company have not looked anywhere close to good over the last few months, but that should change on Sunday.
Bill O’Brien is 0-5 against Bill Belichick, and he won’t be getting his first win over his old boss this weekend.
Patriots 31, Texans 20MORE NEWS: 'Just Part Of What We Do': Manchester, NH Fire Captain Burned During Rescue Released After Weeks In Hospital
WBZ-TV gets you ready for Patriots-Texans Sunday morning with Patriots GameDay at 11:30 a.m., and after the game check out all the reaction and analysis on Patriots 5th Quarter!