The New England Patriots stumbled to begin the 2017 regular season, walloped by the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium. Coach Belichick’s complex offensive scheme requires time for newcomers to learn, which increases the likelihood of another anemic start to the regular season.
Houston endured a disastrous 2017, with J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson lost to severe season-ending injuries. If this lineup remains healthy, the Texans will surprise a lot of football observers. Watson started his career in historic fashion, throwing 19 TD passes in his first seven games, breaking the previous NFL record. Watt’s a three-time defensive player of the year, and he’s the only player to notch two seasons of twenty sacks or more.
Sky’s the limit for a Houston Texans team with a healthy Watt and Watson. At his best, J.J. has the ability to fight through double teams and disrupt the game plan of the best attacks in the league. Watson was a red zone monster during the brief preview of brilliance he displayed, capable of picking apart secondaries while threatening to run from the pocket when a rushing lane opens.
New England still remains the favorite, simply because of Brady and Belichick’s history of winning in the NFL. If the Patriots start slowly, a rejuvenated Houston squad will jump all over the opportunity. The departure of longtime defensive coordinator Matt Patricia could also affect New England’s defense, which lost the Super Bowl after giving up 41 points to backup QB Nick Foles.