By Martin Iheke
It is a rematch of their Week 14 matchup when the New England Patriots destroyed the Houston Texans in Foxboro, 42-14. They meet again at the same place only this time this is in the divisional round of the playoffs and the Texans are hoping for a different result. The Texans defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, 19-13, in the Wild Card round last Saturday to advance to play the Patriots on Sunday. Running back Arian Foster was tremendous in the victory rushing for 140 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries. The defense was also impressive led by defensive end J.J. Watt who led the team with five tackles and a sack.
For the Texans to have a chance to win on Sunday, they are going to have to duplicate what they did to the Bengals – run the ball effectively and get constant pressure on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The Texans did not do these things in their last meeting against the Patriots and the result was them getting hammered. Brady was superb throwing the ball for 296 yards and four touchdowns in the game. The Texans were only able to record a single sack in that game and that will not get it done. They do not necessarily have to sack Brady a lot, but they need to make him feel very uncomfortable in the pocket.
For the Patriots, they are coming off a bye. They should have tight end Rob Gronkowski healthy for the game so that will be a plus. The Pats are coming into the playoffs having won nine of their last ten games and let us not forget that they are still the defending AFC Champions. The one concern they should have is their pass defense. They are ranked 29th in the league giving up 271.4 yards. The Texans have the personnel to exploit this if the Patriots do not put pressure on quarterback Matt Schaub. The Patriots were excellent in this in their last meeting against them and they will have to be again if they want to move on. Prediction: Patriots 31, Texans 21.
Watch It: Sun. Jan 12 at 3:30pm on CBS