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Texans will be playing the Patriots without their top cornerback

The Patriots offense should have an advantage against the Texans defense.

New England Patriots v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Houston Texans defensive front seven is full of talent, with J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus all capable of taking over the game and ruining Tom Brady’s day. But if the New England Patriots can give Brady a couple seconds in the pocket, then look for the Patriots offense to take advantage of the Texans secondary that will be without their top cornerback.

Texans CB Kevin Johnson will miss the game after spraining his MCL, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Johnson was the Texans first round pick in 2015 and he was behind Kareem Jackson and Jonathan Joseph on the depth chart as a rookie. He slowly won the starting job away from Joseph in his sophomore season, but suffered a broken foot and was placed on the injured reserve.

He was the starting cornerback opposite of Joseph to start 2017, with Jackson in the slot, but suffered the knee injury against the Cincinnati Bengals in week two. The 34-year-old Jonathan Joseph also suffered a shoulder injury and left the game, but the injury is not “major” and he’s been a limited participant at practice.

Jackson and Joseph are expected to play against the Patriots, with Marcus Burley as the nickel corner coming off the bench. Look for the Patriots to spread the field and for Tom Brady to pick on Burley as early and often as possible to limit the impact of the Texans pass rush.