Divisional Round: Houston Texans At New England Patriots

The Texans got off the canvas after losing three of their last four regular-season games to beat the Bengals in the Wild-Card game. While Matt Schaub’s numbers were not bad, he did not look like a quarterback who could take his team on the road and come up with a win against the explosive Patriots. Earlier in the season, Schaub looked fearless. He no longer projects that image.
Winner Tom Brady had one of his best days of the season when the Patriots overwhelmed the Texans in New England during a Week 14 Monday night victory. Brady completed 21-of-35 passes for 296 yards and he threw 4 TD passes in that game. Brady believes he can have his way with the Texans’ secondary and he will attack that unit until he’s proven wrong.
The Texans had one of the most balanced offenses during the regular season, ranking seventh overall. Running back Arian Foster ran for 1,424 yards and 15 touchdowns. While he is a power back, he can break long plays as well. Wide receiver Andre Johnson caught 112 passes during the season and he is not going to drop many. TE Owen Daniel knows how to get open on third-down plays.
Winner It’s been another sensational season for the New England offense and while Brady will throw the ball all over the field, the Patriots have gotten a huge lift from running back Stevan Ridley. He has rushed for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns. Wes Welker will catch anything that Brady throws his way and tight end Rob Gronkowski is a stellar big-play maker. Brandon Lloyd can make highlight-film type catches.
Winner The numbers may not tell the story in this game since the Texans ranked 7th overall on defense and 7th against the run. However, they had no success against New England and Wade Phillips’ unit may not have a lot of confidence in this game. Defensive end J.J. Watt must have a huge game. He had 20.5 sacks and he batted down 16 passes this season.
The Patriots rank 29th against the pass and they are vulnerable in that area, but they are much better than they were at the start of the season. The New England pass defense picked up after they acquired veteran cornerback Aqib Talib from Tampa Bay. Outside linebacker Jerod Mayo had a team-high 147 tackles and he also forced 4 fumbles.
Special Teams
Even when the Texans were playing their best football, they were quite vulnerable on special teams. They have struggled with both punt and kickoff coverage. Placekicker Shayne Graham has had a good but not great season, making 31-of-38 FG attempts.
Winner Head coach Bill Belichick is confident in his special teams. Placekicker Stephen Gostkowski was decent this year, making 29-of-35 FG attempts. Punter Zoltan Mesko averaged 43.1 yards per punt and landed 28-of-60 inside the opponents’ 20.

The Winner Is

Winner Patriots
3 out of 4

The Texans were the best team in the AFC through the first half of the season, but they have lost their edge. The Patriots have perhaps the best QB-coach combination in the game in Brady and Belichick and it will take a complete reversal of fortune if the Texans are going to challenge the defending AFC champions.


  1. MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 9: Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans drops back to pass during the first quarter of the game on October 9, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 13:  Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos warms up before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 13, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Week 7 Tale Of The Tape: Houston Texans At Denver Broncos

    The Broncos square off against their former QB as they welcome in Brock Osweiler and the Texans.

  2. SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 16:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes against the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field on October 16, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17:  Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Arizona Cardinals looks to make a pass against the New York Jets in the first half of the NFL game at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 17, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
    Week 7 Tale Of The Tape: Seattle Seahawks At Arizona Cardinals

    The Seahawks face their NFC West foe on the road as the Cardinals look to get above .500 for the first time this season.

  3. FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 16:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots prepares to receive a snap during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on October 16, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Quarterback  Landry Jones #3 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass during warm ups before playing against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
    Week 7 Tale Of The Tape: New England Patriots At Pittsburgh Steelers

    The Patriots are riding high and now face a Steelers team who will be without their starting QB.

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