Texans vs. Patriots: How Houston Can Advance to AFC Championship Game

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Texans vs. Patriots: How Houston Can Advance to AFC Championship Game
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The Houston Texans are hoping for a different outcome than in Week 14 when they travel to New England to take on the Patriots in their AFC divisional round matchup.

The Texans might as well have not shown up against the Pats a month ago, as Houston was demolished 42-14 and went on to lose two of its next three.

NFL.com's Albert Breer writes that the Texans are motivated by their blowout loss to the Patriots and feel more equipped to beat New England this time around.

While the added fuel from the whooping they received in Week 14 should help, what the Texans really need on Sunday afternoon is a heavy dose of Arian Foster.

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The NFL's sixth-leading rusher during the regular season was an enormous part of Houston's offense, as he rushed for more than 1,400 yards and led the league with 15 rushing TDs.  

He was an absolute workhorse for the Texans, receiving an NFL-high 351 carries while making 40 receptions for two touchdowns in the passing game.

In the four games Houston lost this season, Foster averaged just 14.5 carries.

And in wins, you ask?

24.4 attempts.

Clearly, the key to a Texans win is to pound the ground with Foster, which is something Houston didn't do against New England in Week 14.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Foster saw just 15 carries and four receptions out of the backfield, meaning that, altogether, he touched the ball fewer than 20 times.

In the Texans' 19-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card Round, Foster rushed for 140 yards on 32 carries.

Are you beginning to see a trend here?

If the Texans pound the ground with Foster, it'll eat up the clock and limit the amount of time that Tom Brady and the Patriots offense are on the field.

In New England's last loss (Week 15 against the San Francisco 49ers), the Pats allowed 180 ground yards to the 49ers.

If J.J. Watt and Houston's defense play the way they're capable of and Foster receives the necessary amount of carries, the Texans could very well be on their way to the AFC Championship Game.

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