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Houston Texans LB Brian Cushing to miss Patriots game with MCL tear

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One of Houston’s key defenders will miss the team’s week three match-up.

Tonight, the New England Patriots open their season on the road against the Arizona Cardinals. The team will return to Foxboro the next week to play three consecutive home games. One of those against the Houston Texans.

The Texans, coached by former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, won their season opener earlier today by beating the Chicago Bears 23-14. However, the team lost one of its mst important players while doing so (per Ian Rapoport):

#Texans LB Brian Cushing, carted off with a knee injury, is out 6 weeks with a torn MCL, source said. No surgery.

Cushing started all 16 games for the Texans last season and registered a team-high 110 tackles while also forcing a fumble. He also started today’s game before leaving it in the first quarter. While the 29-year old is not the best player on the Texans’ defense - that distinction belongs to J.J. Watt -, the middle linebacker is considered the unit’s emotional leader.

The Patriots’ offense, led by Jimmy Garoppolo, will still have their hands full against one of the NFL’s premier defenses. However, the young signal caller will not have to worry about the instinctive and hard-hitting Cushing, who will nevertheless hopefully have a quick recovery (especially considering Houston’s week six opponent from Indianapolis).