The Houston Texans got by the Cincinnati Bengals at home on Saturday, 19-13. That close win propelled the varsity jacket-wearing team to Foxborough and it faces the New England Patriots at 4:30 P.M. ET on CBS this Sunday.
The last time the Texans visited Tom Brady and Co., they were delivered a 42-14 beatdown. It won’t be as lopsided this time around, but the Patriots will still get the win.
Houston has been struggling as of late, losing three of its last four regular-season games. The Texans then proceeded to narrowly beat a Bengals team that finished 10-6.
Meanwhile, New England has won nine of its last 10 games. The Patriots' only loss was a thrilling contest at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, the NFC elite.
But, the motto of the NFL seems to be "Every Given Sunday," and a balanced Houston attack could shock fans everywhere.
It won't happen.
Brady is too good to lose to Matt Schaub. He will have his team in the AFC Championship Game when the final whistle blows.
Brady is no Andy Dalton and the Texans defense will be in for a long day as the superstar signal-caller picks apart their secondary.
No. 12 leads the fourth-ranked passing attack in the NFL, which averages 291.4 yards per game and has racked up 34 touchdowns.
Comparatively, the Texans secondary is good but not good enough to hang with Terrific Tom. It let opposing quarterbacks throw for 225.8 yards per game and has given up 29 passing touchdowns.
Furthermore, Brady was on fire in the December 10 meeting between these two teams. He threw for 296 yards and an amazing four touchdowns. He added a dominant 125.4 quarterback rating, as well.
The Patriots superstar is able to make his teammates better, and that facet of his game was not lost in Week 14. In that game, the New England running backs went for a combined 130 yards with Stevan Ridley leading the way as he ran for 72 yards and waltzed into the end zone.
However, it wasn't just in that game where the Pats rushing game has been on mark. Ridley has been experiencing a dream season in New England, and the offensive attack has become more balanced as a result. The run game is averaging 136.5 yards per game. That is amazingly ranked seventh in the NFL.
A huge reason for that result is the offensive line for New England is ranked fourth in the league when run blocking. It has been stupendous this year and the running backs are heavily dependent on that line to create holes for them.
But, those same backs have scored 25 touchdowns on the year, best in the league. No rushing crew has reached the end zone more times. That includes Alfred Morris and his Washington Redskins as well as, yes, Arian Foster and the Texans.
No one is better than the Pats.
Put all those touchdowns together and you have a Bill Belichick offense that has scored 557 total points. Not only is that far better than any other team in the NFL, but it is 76 points, or 10.9 touchdowns, higher than the No. 2 team in the league.
That team is the Denver Broncos and they don't even come close.
This offense is firing on all cylinders and can't be stopped.
One cannot say the same about a Texans attack that has looked lethargic as of late. Schaub has no road playoff wins under his belt, and that lowly streak will continue.
He just is not up to the task.
Houston is averaging 239.4 passing yards per game, 11th in the NFL. Schaub only has 22 touchdowns through the year and doesn't even crack the top 15 in that stat. He is being protected by an offensive line ranked ninth when it comes to pass protection. Vince Wilfork and Kyle Love will lead a group of big guys that will have no trouble getting to the quarterback.
They have done it all season with 37 sacks on the year.
The New England secondary isn't too shabby, either. Alfonzo Dennard, Patrick Chung, Aqib Talib and Kyle Arrington are all improving week by week.
They are due for a big game. It will happen this week.
Remember that Schaub only went 19-for-32 and threw for just 232 yards with no touchdowns and an interception when he played the Pats secondary. He barely managed a measly 68.8 quarterback rating. New England can pester a quarterback.
Which team will win this NFL Playoffs Divisonal Round game?
The Patriots can pester this quarterback.
Of course, Arian Foster will be on another level. The undrafted back has exploded and went for 1,424 yards this season. He is the heart and soul of the Texans offense and will try and find holes, but it won’t come easy against Wilfork and a defense that is ranked ninth in the NFL when defending the run.
That same defense is limiting offenses to 20.7 points per game whereas Foster has his offense scoring 26 points per game.
But, Brady is leading a high-octane offense averaging 34.8 points in each contest. J.J. Watt and his defense is allowing the exact same 20.7 points per game.
Stats can only say so much, though.
One team looks like a Super Bowl contender. The other squad looks like a struggling team that is lucky to be this far.
The latter is the Houston Texans.
This is Brady's game to lose. He won't.
New England Patriots fans will be partying into the AFC Championship Game and a possible run at New Orleans.
Houston is a mere road bump for Coach Belichick and his road to glory.
Final Score Prediction: New England Patriots beat Houston Texans 33-27