The Houston Texans have a lot to answer for in Sunday's Divisional Round matchup against the heavily favored New England Patriots. The Texans were absolutely destroyed during the regular season contest, 42-14, and most people seem to think the Patriots have an easy route to the AFC Championship Game next Sunday.
In fact, as bad as the first game was, pessimistic Houston fans probably agree.
|Photo by: Nick De La Torre|
In a word: Yes.
Houston will have to put on a near flawless performance, but they are certainly capable of beating the Pats. The main thing the Texans need to do is excel defensively, something they didn't do in the previous contest. If the D fails to show up again, it could get ugly for Houston. The Texans average 26 ppg, while New England averages 34. To win, Houston will have to shut down Tom Brady and that explosive offense.
Or at the very least, slow it down.
Potential Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt is the main key to the Texans defensive line. In the regular season affair, Watt had an average performance by his standards, recording only 4 tackles. He needs to have a standout game this time around in order for Houston to keep it close.
Arian Foster will also need to have a big outing. He's the first player in NFL history to rush for over 100 yards in his first three career playoff games. Coach Gary Kubiak must get Foster involved early and often. Establishing the running game will help open up the passing attack with Matt Schaub.
The Texans also have a lot of motivation to win this game. The Patriots have shown a lot of confidence, and for good reason. But overconfidence can sometimes be a team's downfall. A good example of this would be from the 2010 season. New England annihilated the New York Jets on Monday Night Football that year, 45-3. However, the Jets bounced back to beat the Patriots in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, 28-21.
Plus, New England is only 7-6 in the postseason since 2004. Not exactly a stellar record. My point being, they're not invincible.
The winner will take on the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC title next week. And while most already have the Pats penciled in, don't be so quick to think Houston has no chance.
After all, if games were decided on paper, the winner would be facing the Denver Broncos.