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The Patriots and Texans have released their Wednesday and final injury reports prior to Thursday night’s game.
Texans: LT Duane Brown (knee), LB Brian Cushing (knee), WR Braxton Miller (hamstring)
Brown is the best lineman on the Texans and his replacement isn’t very good. Cushing is out, but his replacement has been very good. Miller was the #3 receiver for the Texans, so Jaelen Strong will step into the line-up.
The Texans lean heavily on 3-receiver sets, so look for Malcolm Butler to get Strong on an island, Justin Coleman to cover rookie Will Fuller, and for Logan Ryan and a safety to bracket DeAndre Hopkins.
Patriots: QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder, doubtful), LB Dont’a Hightower (knee), CB Eric Rowe (ankle), OG Jonathan Cooper (foot), DE Trey Flowers (shoulder), TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring), LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
Texans: P Shane Lechler (back), DL J.J. Watt (back)
Garoppolo is the only Patriots player as doubtful; everyone else is questionable. Rowe has one day of practice under his belt, while Garoppolo, Hightower, and Freeny have practiced the past two days. Cooper, Flowers, and Gronkowski have practiced all week, which could be a good sign for Gronk.
The Texans punter and defensive star are dinged up and in a game of field position, this could really help the Patriots out. Lechler is annually one of the best punters in the league, while Watt is the best defender in the NFL.
Texans: G Jeff Allen (calf), CB A.J. Bouye (shoulder), T Chris Clark (elbow/ankle), ED Jadeveon Clowney (foot), DL Christian Covington (groin), CB Kevin Johnson (thumb), T Derek Newton (knee), QB Brock Osweiler (back), FB Jay Prosch (back), LB John Simon (wrist)
Allen is the starting right guard and he’s allowed more sacks than any other player in the NFL. Clark and Newton are the starting tackles. Bouye has been used to cover tight ends, while Johnson is the nickel corner. Covington is a rotational player on the defensive line, while Simon is a starting linebacker. Prosch helps in the running game, while Osweiler is the starting quarterback.