After beating the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday for in the wild card round of the playoffs the Houston Texans will now face the New England Patriots. In week 14 of the regular season the Patriots blew out the Texans 42-14 in a game played in Foxborough, and the Texans will be hoping to even the score and move forward in the playoffs this week.
In the last meeting between these 2 teams, the Patriots dominated the game in all phases and the Texans know that they’ll need to play much better to give themselves a chance at winning a tough game on the road. The first thing the Texans will need to address will be their lack of an offense in the last meeting. They couldn’t sustain a drive and keep the Patriots defense on the field, and that’s a big part of the Texans game plan every week. They like to run the ball and control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Texans RB Arian Foster only had 46 yards on 15 carries in the last meeting, and I guarantee that’ll change this time around. In games that Foster has more than 25 carries the Texans are undefeated this season, I think Gary Kubiak will make a point to get him touches this week. The more Foster touches the ball the more the Patriots defense will have to respect the run. That should make it easier to for the Texans to operate against the Patriots LB’s off play action. In the last meeting Ben Tate had some pretty good runs against the Patriots defense and he will probably see more playing time this week. Tate is a different style of runner than Foster who seems to just flow through the defense and use his long strides to eat up ground quickly. Tate is more of a bruiser likes to hit the holes hard looking for contact. Tate had 46 yards on just 8 carries in week 14 when these 2 met last. QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson will have to be at their best this week as well if the Texans are going to have a chance at winning this game. In the last meeting Schaub wasn’t quite himself all game. He finished the game 19-32 with 232 yards and 0 TD’s. Schaub was sacked twice and did throw an interception in the game. Of those 232 yards Andre Johnson had 95 yards on 8 catches.
Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips knows he’s got a hard job in front of him in trying to stop this high powered Patriots offense this week. The Patriots put up 419 yards of total offense against a Texans defense that finished in the top 10 this season. Getting pressure on Brady seems to be the only way to disrupt the Patriots offense, and the Texans didn’t do that at all in the last game. 1 sack is all the Texans could get against the Patriots. DE JJ Watt will be looking to change that as he didn’t have much of an impact in the 1st meeting. The Texans defense will need Watt to make a huge impact this week. If it’s not with sacks then just getting tackles for a loss. This Texans defensive unit must get back to what they did best to start the season, disrupt the QB’s by doing more than just sacking them. OLB Brooks Reed was injured the last time these 2 teams met and Reed who is back playing now is fresh. This should help the Texans on Sunday, being able to rotate players in and out will have less fatigued players coming in and getting after Brady in the pocket.