One thing that has been lacking offensively all season for the New England Patriots has been the production out of the backfield.
Last Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, in rainy conditions, the Patriots finally got its running game going with a stellar performance by Sony Michel. It was the most confident Michel has looked running the ball all season and it paid dividends for the Patriots’ offense.
A big reason behind Michel’s resurgence has been the return of Isaiah Wynn, New England’s starting left tackle who missed 10 games while recovering from turf toe. Wynn’s run blocking is something he was known for coming out of college. While at Georgia, he helped pave the way for both Michel and Nick Chubb while earning All-American honors.
Michel has fed off the reunion with Wynn, clearly, and is poised to turn things around down the stretch in what has been a rough season for the most part in his second professional year. How will he fare against a Texans team that ranks in the middle of the pack when it comes to stopping the run?
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Sony Michel Matchup vs Houston
Due to an injury suffered during the preseason, Michel did not suit up in last year’s season opener against Houston at home for the Patriots. In his first career game against the Texans, Michel could overwhelm an undermanned Houston defense without J.J. Watt in the fold.
The last two weeks, the Texans have struggled to contain opposing running backs in a loss to Baltimore and a win over Indianapolis. The Patriots’ offense has sputtered in recent weeks, and running the ball could be a way to get things going again.
Michel would be at the center of that plan, taking a bulk of the carries and capitalizing on his newfound ability as a receiver. He showed an ability to churn out yards against a strong defense in Dallas last week and should be able to repeat that performance against the Texans.
Should You Start Michel vs Houston?
The Patriots are still ailing at receiver but could get a boost with Phillip Dorsett cleared to play and Mohamed Sanu closing in on a return as well. With those two back in the lineup, the Patriots may opt to use more of an aerial offense as they have done most of the season.
But if Michel can get going early like he did against Dallas, the Patriots could use him in certain situations throughout the game. It’s a tough decision to make with Michel, especially this week. With an unsure game plan depending on which players are healthy enough to suit up on Sunday night, it might be a risk to start Michel.
If he does get a lot of involvement, it could be a big night for Michel. He hasn’t found the end zone since Week 7 and is due for some pay-dirt. As an RB2, putting Michel in your lineup makes a lot of sense.