AT PATRIOTS (2-0),8:25 p.m.
TV: Ch. 2, NFL; Radio: WCBS (880)
Texans by 1; O/U: 40.5
Tom Brady is 9-1 with 24 touchdowns and two interceptions in 10 Thursday games.
Tom Brady is 23-5 against the AFC South.
Tom Brady is 5-1 against the Texans, including a 27-6 win in Houston last season.
Tom Brady is . . . not playing tonight.
Jimmy Garoppolo, despite reports that the Patriots have yet to rule him out, doesn’t appear likely to play, either. The backup quarterback with the last name we’ve just gotten accustomed to spelling without having to Google it filled in phenomenally the first two weeks, completing close to 70 percent of his passes and throwing four touchdowns with no interceptions. Then he got hurt last week against the Dolphins.
Enter Jacoby Brissett (had to Google that last name’s spelling, too).
The 6-4 rookie was a third-round pick by the Pats, and according to NFL.com’s draft profile, his strengths include: “Big quarterback with an NFL arm. Has the frame and lower body strength to shake off a would-be sack and extend the play.”
Ah, speaking of would-be sacks, have you heard of J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney? The Texans allowed just four field goals to the Chiefs last week, and should have success against an offense that also may be without star tight end Rob Gronkowski again.
While all the talk about this game revolves around the Patriots’ quarterback issues, the Texans addressed their own in the offseason when they signed Brock Osweiler.
If you go by starts alone, the former Bronco is a rookie, because this will be just his 10th start. He’s had an OK start to the season (three touchdowns, three interceptions), but he’s made the big throws when necessary and has one of the best receivers in the NFL in DeAndre Hopkins. Receiver Will Fuller had back-to-back 100-yard games to start his career, and his speed gives the Texans big-play ability.
Bill Belichick has the edge against his former offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien in the battle of the Bills. But for a change, Belichick and not O’Brien is the one with the question mark at quarterback. In what figures to be a close, 17-10 type of game, the wise play is to bank on Houston’s defense and pick the Texans against a rookie quarterback making his first start.
The pick: Texans