The Houston Texans are the underdogs going into the 13th week of the NFL season as they’ll be facing the New England Patriots this Sunday night.
One thing going into the Week 13 game for the Houston Texans as they’ll be facing the New England Patriots is that the 7-4 Texans squad is being looked at as the underdog by the folks in the wagering industry.
According to The Action Network, the AFC South-leading Texans are +3 underdogs against the Patriots — who are 10-1 overall this season — with the Texans being the home team against the AFC East leaders.
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Going into this game, some players to watch other than the superstar quarterbacks are the running backs with the Texans having the duo of Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson, while the Patriots have Sony Michel and James White.
This season, the Patriots’ leading rusher is Michel with 174 carries for 600 yards, averaging 3.4 yards per carry. Michel also has six rushing scores, plus he has nine receptions for 74 yards.
White this season has 39 carries for 129 yards with one touchdown, averaging 3.3 yards per carry.
New England ranks 23rd in the league as they are averaging 91.9 yards per game rushing as a team.
The rushing attack as a team for the Texans has them ranked seventh in the NFL with 136.9 yards per game. Hyde leads the Texans with 174 carries for 836 yards on the ground, but just four touchdowns. Johnson is next for Houston with 349 yards rushing with one touchdown.
Johnson is averaging 5.4 yards per rush in 2019, while Hyde has averaged 4.8 yards per rush this season.
Though the Texans need their actual running backs to be on point this Sunday, don’t forget about the running abilities of the quarterback Deshaun Watson can’t be ignored either. Watson in ’19 has 301 yards rushing for 58 rushes, plus five rushing touchdowns, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
In recent games, Hyde has been held to under 70 yards with 65 yards (nine carries) on Nov. 17 in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens. In that game, of those 65 yards, 41 of them came on one carry. The problem with this game is the Texans trailed by so much they were forced to pass the football more.
In his most recent game on Nov. 21, Hyde rushed the football 16 times for 67 yards, averaging 4.2 yards per carry against the Indianapolis Colts.
Hyde last played against the Patriots in 2016 as a member of the San Francisco 49ers where he had 19 rushes for 86 yards, plus three receptions for 24 yards and a fumble.
Johnson has had just one game over 60 yards rushing this season, and in no game in 2019 has he had 10 or more carries in a game.
The Texans haven’t used their running backs to the best of their abilities this season, because Johnson should have a game with at least 10 carries by Week 13, and Hyde hasn’t had a 20-plus carry game since Week 6.
As for the Texans being just a three-point underdog entering this game, the difference in who wins this game could come down to which running backs perform at a higher level, because this game will be closely played if it mirrors their past two meetings.