Thursday Night Football – WKIII (Texans v Patriots)

Kickoff 8:25EST on CBS and the NFL Channel – simulcast on Twitter

Week three of the 2016 NFL season starts tonight as the bruising Houston Texans take their top-ranked defense into Foxborough to face a Tom Brady-less New England Patriots.

In what many think is the first of two meetings this season by undefeated reigning AFC division champions, future Hall of Fame head coach Bill Belichick has his work cut out for him as his former offensive protege Bill O’Brien and former defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel have their Houston Texans playing for keeps.

Houston’s defense, led by all-world defensive end J.J. Watt, former #1 draft pick Jadeveon Clowney, rising star Whitney Mercilus and long time Patriot nose tackle Vince Wilfork, hasn’t given up a touchdown in the last six quarters of play.

New England’s offense, running with their third string rookie quarterback and possibly wide receiver Julian Edelman under center are injury riddled and counting down the days until starter Tom Brady returns in week five.

All-time the Patriots lead the series 5-1, with Houston head coach Bill O’Brien currently 0-1 against his former team.

New Texans quarterback is 1-0 against the Patriots, having led his Denver Broncos to victory over the Patriots in primetime on Sunday Night Football last November. Osweiler was 23 of 42 for 270 yards and a touchdown in that tilt.

New Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brisset has never started a game in the NFL, and came into last week’s game in relief of injured second-string signal caller Jimmy Garrapolo. Brisset went 6 of 9 for 92 yards.