The New England Patriots started the week as a 3.5-point favorite over the Houston Texans in their Week 13 clash at NRG Stadium. The Patriots currently lead the AFC with a 10-1 mark while the Texans pace the AFC South with a 7-4 record. The Patriots could clinch a playoff berth in Week 13, depending on the results of the games between the Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cleveland Browns and the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans. While some may think that the Texans could give the Patriots a run for their money, many of the football analysts pick head coach Bill Belichick and the rest of the team to run away with a close win.

According to CBS football analyst Pete Prisco, he expects the Patriots to win over the Texans by the score of 23-14. The Patriots offense is currently struggling, but Prisco believes that it could get going at some point and the game against the Texans might jumpstart it. Prisco also expects the Patriots defense to slow down Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. The rest of the CBS Sports analysts -- Jason La Canfora, Will Brinson, Dave Richard, Ryan Wilson, and John Breech all sided with the Patriots.

ESPN’s Mike Reiss expects breakthrough game from Brady

As for ESPN, Patriots insider Mike Reiss predicted that Brady would surpass his season-high total of 348 passing yards that he recorded against the Washington Redskins. Reiss said this would be the result of Brady’s familiarity with the Texans’ defensive scheme, with his 10-1 record against Houston saying it all. Reiss said Brady also has an increased comfort level with Isaiah Wynn back at left tackle for a second consecutive week and the expected return of veteran wide receivers Phillip Dorsett II and Mohamed Sanu Sr., who both missed their 13-9 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

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Reiss said he expects the Patriots to win by 23-17. Reiss' colleagues at ESPN -- Sarah Barshop, Mike Golic, Kevin Seifert, Mina Kimes, and Dan Graziano -- selected the Patriots while Seth Wickersham and Trey Wingo sided with the Texans. Barshop said the Patriots' running game, which averages just 3.4 yards per rush, is expected to shine against the Texans, who have surrendered 505 total rushing yards in their last three games.

Rosenthal believes Patriots offense could turn corner vs Texans

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com expects Brady to be up to the task against the Texans, especially with the Patriots’ offense showing signs of life in their win over the Cowboys.

Rosenthal said the running game, led by Sony Michel, is now slowly regaining its form with the return of Wynn. With the game being played indoors, Rosenthal expects Brady to carry the Patriots to a 27-24 win over the Texans. Meanwhile, four of five sports staff of the Houston Chronicle selected the Patriots over their hometown team. Columnists Jenny Dial Creech and Brian T. Smith and writers John McClain and Aaron Wilson sided with the Patriots while columnist Jerome Solomon picked the Texans.

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