Patriots: Week 5 Essentials List vs. Texans

New England Patriots RB Damien Harris

The 1-3 New England Patriots will be down four offensive lineman for Sunday’s game against the Texans. Not a good place to be in. Especially considering how horrid the pass protection has been to this point. Center, David Andrews will be the only starter on the offensive line, causing many to worry about Sunday’s game. While the Texans are 1-3 as well, how can the Patriots avoid falling 1-4 to one of the league’s worst team?

Win The 1st Quarter

The Texans have surprisingly been one of the league’s best in first quarter scoring; the team is currently tied for ninth in the NFL. Houston starts their games strong, but stumble as the game goes along. Houston is ranked T-28th in 3rd quarter scoring and are tied for dead last in 4th quarter scoring. Going from a top-10 scoring offense to a bottom 3rd in the span of two quarters is a big contrast. New England will have to command an early lead if they wish to control the game.

Run The No-Huddle

The Patriots found something in Week 4. For the first time this season, the Mac Jones offense took over the game and showed a scary consistency. Despite being one of the most pressured quarterback, Jones ran a no-huddle, two minute style offense, usually with five-wide formation. This style of attack gave New England its greatest success as Jones displayed an ability to change calls at the line of scrimmage and get the ball out fast. With an entirely new offensive line, the Patriots will have to exhaust Houston’s defense to avoid Jones getting hit.

Feed Damien Harris

The Patriots running game has been a non-factor for the past two weeks. It hasn’t been all the team’s fault as New Orleans and Tampa Bay are some of the stingiest defenses against the run. Sunday, however, this must change as the Texans are allowing an average of 137 yards per game to backs, 28th in the league. New England will have to get their run game going again and that starts with Damien Harris.

Patriot fans may forget about how strong Harris started last time he faced the Houston Texans. Opening the first Patriots scoring drive with five carries for 24 yards and a touchdown. Surprisingly after that drive, the Patriots abandoned Harris as he only finished the game with 11 carries while playing 25% of snaps. The Patriots went on to lose 27-20. Harris will have to be much more involved this week.

Win The Turnover Battle

Davis Mills threw four interceptions last week vs the Buffalo Bills, four. In all three of New England’s losses, they have turned the ball over more than their opponent. The Texans are T-27th in giveaways a game which is good. The bad thing is they are tied with…the New England Patriots. So far, both teams have given the ball away often in the first month of the season. Especially in a game full of injuries, taking care of the football will be vital.

The Patriots travel to Houston to play the Texans Sunday at 1:00pm.

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

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