Patriots vs Texans Open Thread: Impact Player?

Devin McCourty Patriots Safety

Who will make an impact in the Patriots vs Texans playoff game? (USA Today Sports Images)

NEPD Editor: James Christensen

It has been a long week listening to all the hype surrounding the impending Divisional Round Playoff game between the Houston Texans and the favored New England Patriots. I think we’re all ready for kickoff, although we’ll have to wait a few more days.

In today’s Open Thread, let’s discuss who will make the biggest impact for the Patriots if they are able to pull of a second straight win over AFC South champions.

For my pick, I’m going to step out of the normal realm of Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork or any of the skill position players on the offensive side of the ball. The offensive line got some early consideration from me as well.

My pick for the MVP of the game is free safety Devin McCourty.

McCourty will have to walk a tight line, making sure to take care of his deep coverage responsibilities, watching the ever dangerous Houston tight ends running down the seams, and making sure Arian Foster doesn’t get loose down the field.

If McCourty plays another good game this Sunday – you could argue that he has been the Patriots most valuable player on defense all year – the Patriots will have a great chance of another berth in the AFC Championship game.

Your turn – who is your pick for the Patriots impact player this Sunday?

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10 Responses to “Patriots vs Texans Open Thread: Impact Player?”

  1. stephen h says:

    ChevSS had a good choice with Ninkovich. I thought the play he made was going to be made by Hightower. Anyways, I don’t think anyone would have choose Verren but isn’t that why the Pat’s are so great.

  2. Joey says:

    Big Vince Wilfork is going to keep that Houston O-line busy all game long. Wilfork is going to enable other Patriots to make plays.

  3. Trev says:

    Mayo & Vollmer. If Mayo can keep Foster in check and Vollmer can do a good job on Watt we probably win the game.

  4. Ken W says:

    I’m going with Spikes for kind of the same reasons as Stephen stated for Hightower. Spikes will make some big hits and be crashing into the O-line and really disrupt the Texans run game.

    As far as the Offense I would say Woodhead and Hernandez have big games. Both are match up nightmares and I think they will spread it out and look for the mismatches which these two are the hardest to match up with.

  5. Martin says:

    So far, all the choices fans are claiming are good choices for good reasons- but I’m going with the O-Line. I know that’s not a “player”- but if they control the line they control the game. Time to throw- space for the backs to run- staying on the field. I know this is true for every game but with this Texan front seven and the way they pressure the passer- this is where this game will be won or lost.

  6. stephen h says:

    I’m going to go with Donta Hightower. I feel Pats are going to need to stop run, put pressure on QB and cover TE’s. Hightower has come a long way from the beginning of the season and feel like he’ll be put in a position to have a big game. I like Hightower to have a few tackles for loss, a sack and a few passes defended on Owen Daniels and a RB out of the back field. I also expect a big game from Chandler Jones who seems to be playing better since his injury. (BB said he had best game of season against Miami) Although Jones has a big game I think Hoghtower makes a big tackle for loss or sack causing a fumble that changes game. GO PATS!!!

  7. Kevin says:

    McCourty will need to play huge to limit big plays but I’m going with Aaron Hernandez. All if the talk is on Gronk’s return so expect more focus his way. This should allow 1 on 1’s with backers which we’ll take any day.

  8. ChevSS says:

    Ninkovich – defending the pass and pass pressure. His time has come.

    • Martin says:

      I don’t think he’s at 100%. But you make an excellent point- Ninkovich, Chandler, Frances, Cunningham can force Straub to throw to his check-downs rather than going over the top- the D could hold them to 10-14 points, which should mean victory.

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