Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 69° Clear
Sports

Underdog Texans face big challenge on road against Patriots

FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2016, file photo, Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) looks to pass as New England Patriots defensive end Chris Long (95) rushes during the first half of an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass. Osweiler was traded from Houston to Cleveland on Thursday. (Charles Krupa / Associated Press)
FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2016, file photo, Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) looks to pass as New England Patriots defensive end Chris Long (95) rushes during the first half of an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass. Osweiler was traded from Houston to Cleveland on Thursday. (Charles Krupa / Associated Press)
By Kyle Hightower Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The Houston Texans face an enormous challenge against the New England Patriots on Saturday night.

The Texans are 1-7 against the Patriots. They are winless in New England all time, including a shutout loss earlier this season when Tom Brady was out because of a suspension.

The Patriots enter the game as 15 1/2-point favorites over the visiting Texans – just the sixth time since 1966 that a team has been favored by at least 15 points in a playoff game.

In the five previous occasions only one underdog – the New York Jets in Joe Namath’s Super Bowl guarantee – won the game.

New England says it isn’t taking anything for granted in the divisional-round matchup against the NFL’s top-ranked defense.

But how does Houston, which lost 27-0 in Week 3 to a Patriots team without Brady, go about beating a team that is one of the biggest favorites in playoff history?

“The first thing that jumps out, you have to protect the ball. If you are going to beat the Patriots, especially in Foxborough, you can’t have any turnovers,” Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler said.

“If you have turnovers, you are giving Tom additional chances to score points. … and that’s never going to be good for your football team.”

That will be easier said than done against a Patriots defense that have been creating turnovers at a high rate during their seven-game win streak.

New England’s defense went three straight weeks in the middle of the season without forcing a turnover, but had 14 of their 23 total takeaways over their final six games.

The Texans turned it over three times in the first meeting. Two of the turnovers –fumbles on kickoffs – led to 14 points.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.