Records: Houston (13-4, 7-2 away),
New England (12-4, 6-2 home)
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Line: Patriots by 9 1/2; O/U: 48 1/2
Briefly: The Houston Texans abandoned their running game when they played at New England last month.
They also abandoned their passing game and defense.
The Texans were blown out, 42-14, meaning they were back to the drawing board this week for their divisional game today against the Patriots.
“We know that our effort and how we performed last time wouldn’t give us a chance against anybody on the road,” Houston Coach Gary Kubiak said.
“It’s about right now refocusing on all the things we have to do to go down there and have a chance to be successful, and I’m sure that’s what they’re thinking about.”
The Patriots know, though, not to get overconfident. Two years ago, they throttled the New York Jets in the regular season, 45-3, only to lose to the same Jets, 28-21, in a divisional playoff game.
That was a startling reminder to never take anything for granted.
From the Texans’ perspective, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said, “I think you learn from it. You also understand things aren’t going to be the same. They’re going to see things that they’re working on that are going to be different for us this time around. We do the same thing.”
Brady owns a 16-6 (.727) career postseason record as a starter. His 16 wins are tied for the most by any starting quarterback in NFL postseason history with Hall of Famer Joe Montana (16).
With a win against Houston today, Brady would surpass Montana for the most all-time playoff wins.
Fox analyst Jimmy Johnson on New England’s 28-point torching of the Texans in December: “I think Houston is a lot better football team than that, and had they not made the critical errors there in the first quarter, I think it would have been a much better ballgame. I don’t put a lot of stock in that one game. Now playing in New England, the way they [the Patriots] play at home and them dominating that first game, I still look at New England being the better football team, but I don’t think that score was indicative of the two teams.”
Brady is 10-2 in playoff games at home, and the Patriots have averaged 34.8 points per game this season. The Texans haven’t scored 34 points in a single game since November. New England gets up early and runs away with it, 35-21.
Sam Farmer, L.A. Times