AFC champions the New England Patriots host the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL regular season.
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots’ dominance of the AFC looks set to continue for another year, despite questions about No. 12’s options at wide receiver and the effectiveness of a revamped defense.
Both issues will face strict examination when the always tough Houston Texans arrive at Gillette Stadium this Sunday. The AFC South club boasts a fearsome defense directed by former Pats guru Romeo Crennel, who is back calling the plays.
Houston’s offense is no weak link as long as dual-threat ace Deshaun Watson is manufacturing big plays from quarterback. New England head coach Bill Belichick will need to call on his own not-inconsiderable defensive wizardry to subdue Watson.
Belichick’s defense, worked over every way possible by the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII, was bolstered this offseason. Rush end Adrian Clayborn and house-sized nose guard Danny Shelton add some oomph up front, while linebacker Dont’a Hightower could be the equalizer for Watson.
The New England offense could be hampered by a lack of playmakers at wide receiver, particularly with Julian Edelman serving a four-game suspension. Being shorn talent out wide could cost Brady against a fearsome Texans pass rush led by J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus.
Houston needs a fast start in a suddenly tough South division where both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans look strong. Meanwhile, the AFC East kingpin Patriots won’t want a repeat of last season’s opener, when the Kansas City Chiefs left Gillette Stadium with a 42-27 victory.
What time, channel is Texans at Patriots on?
CBS will carry the game, with the broadcast beginning at 1 p.m. ET. Jim Nantz and Tony Romo are the broadcasters, with the latter fresh from a brilliant debut as an analyst during the 2017 season.