Tom Brady’s appeal for his 4-game deflategate suspension has been rejected by a federal court. He still has the option of going to the supreme court, but the chances are slim, and time is running out. If all stays as is, the Texans will head to Foxboro in week 3 to face a Patriots team led not by Tom Brady, but by Jimmy Jimmy Garoppolo.
This would be a genuine stroke of luck for Houston, but it by no means guarantees a victory. The Texans are 1-6 all time versus New England. Their lone victory came in 2010. Most of their defeats have been blowouts. This 2016 contest will be played on a Thursday night. The Texans have been especially pathetic against the Patriots when it comes to primetime contests. They were most recently throttled by New England, 27-6, in a Sunday night game just last season.
The Texans have made it a habit of shrinking under the bright lights in nationally televised games. They were able to defeat the Bengals on a Monday night last year, but before that, their track record had been fairly dismal. To defeat a Patriot team on their own field would be a major accomplishment, regardless of Tom Brady’s status. The Patriot’s legacy of greatness is both awe-inspiring and maddening.
New England is always near the top of AFC. Year after year, they continue to set the standard in the NFL. While one may argue their sometimes shady tactics, one cannot argue the results. Bill Belichick is arguably the greatest coach in history, and the same can be said for Tom Brady at quarterback. You can also throw Rob Gronkowski in there as he continues to rewrite the record books at tight end.
Although New England may be without Tom Brady, you can bet that Garoppolo will be thoroughly prepared and Belichick will have a special game plan in store. Garoppolo was drafted in the second round three years ago. He does not have a lot of game experience, but he does have the full confidence of his teammates and coaches. He also has the added bonus of studying under Brady and Belichick.
The Patriots have added tight end Martellus Bennett to complement Gronk, and they will have the elusive Dion Lewis returning from injury to provide a spark out of the backfield. And of course, we can’t forget about Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. New England’s defense doesn’t have a bunch of big name stars, but they play together very well and do an excellent job of pressuring the quarterback.
If Houston is ever going to garner any respect in the national media, they have to win games like this. The fact that Tom Brady may not play means very little if the Texans don’t show up and take care of their own business. This is truly an opportunity for Houston to prove that they belong in the conversation of NFL big boy teams.
Header image based on “Tom Brady” by Keith Allison (CC-BY-SA 2.0)