The New England Patriots badly need a win, and they have a great opportunity to end their two-game losing streak with a Week 5 matchup versus the Houston Texans.
The Texans have lost three consecutive games after beating the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1. Texans rookie quarterback Davis Mills threw four interceptions in a 40-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills last week. Houston has been outscored 64-9 over the last two games.
The Patriots nearly pulled off an upset of Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4 but were defeated 19-17. New England is 1-3 for the first time since 2001.
The issue for the Patriots isn't their defense. This unit is allowing 17.5 points per game -- the sixth-fewest in the league. The problem is mostly the offense, a unit that's scoring 17.8 points per game, which is also the sixth-fewest in the league. Pass protection, costly penalties, turnovers and third down conversions all have been problems for the Patriots on offense over the first four weeks of the campaign.
If the Patriots are going to turn their season around, they must beat inferior teams like the Texnas.
Here's a roundup of expert picks for Sunday afternoon's Patriots-Texans matchup (with score predictions, if provided).
Phil Perry, NBC Sports Boston: 24-10 Patriots
Mike Reiss, ESPN: 23-17 Patriots
Rob Ninkovich, ESPN: Patriots
Dan Graziano, ESPN: Patriots
Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times: Patriots
Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas Morning News: Patriots
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: 24-10 Patriots
Albert Breer, Sports Illustrated: Patriots
Jenny Vrentas, Sports Illustrated: Patriots
Will Brinson, CBS Sports: 21-7 Patriots
Mike Jones, CBS Sports: 26-20 Patriots
Mike Freeman, CBS Sports: 30-14 Patriots
Bleacher Report NFL Staff: 27-10 Patriots
Emmanuel Morgan, New York Times: Patriots -9 (this pick was against the spread)
FiveThirtyEight's model: Patriots 76 percent (chance to win), Texans 24 percent