FOXBOROUGH, MASS. (WHDH) - The New England Patriots and Houston Texans will square off Saturday night for the right to play in the AFC Championship game against either the Pittsburgh Steelers or Kansas City Chiefs.
Here’s everything you need to know:
Date: Saturday, Jan. 14, 2014 Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.
Kickoff: 8:15 p.m.
The New England Patriots finished the regular season with the top record in the AFC at 14-2. With coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady at the helm, the team has won 14 of the last 16 AFC East crowns. The Patriots are picked by many to win by at least 16 points.
The Houston Texans come to Foxborough as the 4th seed in the AFC playoff picture. They narrowly edged out the Tennessee Titans to win the AFC South division title. Unlike the Patriots, Houston played last week on Wildcard Weekend. They defeated the Oakland Raiders, 27-14, to set up a matchup with New England.
The Patriots have never lost to the Texans at Gillette Stadium. In fact, the last three meetings between the two teams in Foxborough have been blowouts.
Sept. 22, 2016: Patriots 27, Texans 0
Jan. 13, 2013: Patriots 41, Texans 28
Dec. 12, 2012: Patriots 42, Texans 14
It’s worth noting that the Patriots are 7-1 in eight games against Houston dating back to 2003.
Tom Brady vs. Brock Osweiler
Brady is having himself a career season. In the 12 games following his “Deflategate” suspension, Brady tossed 28 touchdown passes and just two interceptions. He finished the season with a quarterback rating of 112.2. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl.
Osweiler, on the other hand, had an up-and-down season. The 26-year-old tallied 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He was even benched late in the season for poor play before returning to the lineup last week against the Raiders.
Patriots offensive line vs. Texans defensive line
New England’s offensive success will hinge on their ability to limit Texans pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney. Clowney is elusive and quick in getting after opposing quarterbacks. He had six sacks during the season and even interecpted a pass last week against the Raiders. Patriots tackle Nate Solder will likely be tasked with blocking him. Also, ex-Patriot Vince Wilfork, can not be overlooked. Giving Brady time to pass will allow the Patriots to control the game.
Bill Belichick vs. Bill O’Brien
Belichick’s playoff success goes without saying. He has 4 Super Bowl wins in New England, with the last coming in 2014. The Patriots have won 22 of 31 playoffs games under Belichick.
O’Brien, a former coach under Belichick, has very little playoff experience as a head coach. Since taking the helm in Houston in 2014, O’Brien has a 1-1 postseason record.
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