The Divisional round of the NFL Playoffs continues on Sunday and we will see the Houston Texans travel to the Northeast to take on the New England Patriots. The game is scheduled for a 1:00 PM (Eastern) start time and it will be televised live on CBS. Currently the odds for the game have New England favored by 9.5 points, while the total sits at 49. Check out Sportsbook Spy to find out what side the Public is taking on all today's games.
Free Analysis: The Houston Texans were comfortably sailing along atop the AFC before meeting the New England Patriots last month. A lopsided setback led to two more losses in their final three games. The AFC South-champion Texans rebounded with a 19-13 triumph over sixth-seeded Cincinnati in last week's wild-card match, setting up a return date on Sunday with Tom Brady and the second-seeded Patriots in Foxboro, Mass. Texans QB Matt Schaub played pretty well in his playoff debut last week, completing 29-of-38 passes (76%) for 262 yards, but he did have an interception returned for a touchdown. He has not been great on the road this year though (79.5 passer rating), with 5 TD and 7 INT in his past six away games. This includes his 68.8 rating in New England when he was 19-of-32 for 232 yards, 0 TD and 1 INT. However, his top receiver, WR Andre Johnson, has been incredible since November with 78 catches for 1,154 yards (128 YPG) in these nine games. He caught eight passes for 95 yards on the suspect New England secondary that allowed the 4th-most passing yards (271 YPG) in the NFL this year. Although RB Arian Foster has been outstanding on the road this season (751 rush yds, 4.3 YPC, 7 TD), he was held to just 46 yards on 15 carries (3.1 YPC) in New England. Texans DL J.J. Watt is the best defensive player in football with 81 tackles (69 solo), 20.5 sacks, 16 passes defended and four forced fumbles in the regular season. He was a big reason why Houston finished with 44 sacks this year (5th in NFL), but the team had zero sacks of Brady in Week 14.
Should the AFC East-champion Patriots emerge victorious on Sunday, Brady will surpass boyhood idol Joe Montana for the most postseason wins (17) by a starting quarterback. Brady is 10-2 at home during the postseason, but just 6-6 in his last 12 overall starts in the playoffs. New England leads the league in both scoring (34.8 PPG) and total offense (428 YPG). The Patriots are just 2-4 SU in their past six playoff games, scoring 23 points or less in five of those six contests. Although Brady tossed 6 TD in last year's divisional round romp over Denver (45-10), he has just 7 TD and 7 INT during the other five games of this stretch. In the regular season, Brady threw for 4,827 yards, 34 TD and 8 INT, and was outstanding at home with 2,389 passing yards (299 YPG), 16 TD and 3 INT. He posted a 125.4 passer rating against Houston by completing 21-of-35 throws for 296 yards (8.5 YPA), 4 TD and 0 INT, despite not having the services of TE Rob Gronkowski (11 TD in 11 games). The Patriots top receiver this year was Wes Welker (118 rec, 1,354 yds, 6 TD), but he has topped 60 receiving yards just once in six career playoff games. New England's rushing offense is underrated, as it had the most touchdowns (25), the 2nd-most attempts (32.7 per game) and 7th-most rushing yards (137 YPG) this season. RB Stevan Ridley finished with 1,263 yards (4.4 YPC) and 12 TD, rushing for 72 yards (4.0 YPC) and a score versus the Texans. A huge reason for New England's offensive success it its lack of turnovers (16, tied for 2nd-fewest in NFL), and Houston has managed just four takeaways in the past five games combined.
Free Pick: I got burned on both games yesterday by Taking Unders, but I will do so once again here. Last time these teams New England put up 42 points and I expect a much better defensive effort from the Texans in this go around. For some reason the Pats have had troubles scoring in the playoffs of late as they have put up 23 points or less in 5 of their last 6 playoff games. I don't expect them to get 42 points in this one again. That Houston defense is a tough bunch and they will make the adjustments from last game to his one. On offense I expect a heavy dose of Foster as to keep the Pats offense of the Field. Last time the Texan's couldn't implement that plan cause they fell behind so bis, so early. I expect a different start to this game. The Patriot defense has been very solid of late, allowing 19 points or less in 5 of their last 6 games and they should be able to hold down a Houston offense that has scored 19 or less in 4 of their last 5 games. Despite New England putting up 42 points last time, just 56 were scored in the game and 7 of that was a fumble that the Pats recovered in the endzone. I see a bit more defense in this one, which should net us about 42 points, tops.
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NFL Free Picks: Houston at New England Betting
What pro football bettors need to know about Houston Texans at New England Patriots on Sunday (1/13/13) - a free pick from Pregame.com's Vegas Runner, with Chris Andrews and host RJ Bell.