Blizzard Watch for New Haven,Middlesex and New London Counties.Winter Storm Watch for the rest of Ct. Read More

TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: New England Patriots At Houston Texans

New England Patriots
Houston Texans
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Quarterback
Winner The Patriots staged a memorable comeback in beating the Broncos 34-31 in overtime in Week 12. Tom Brady kept his cool despite three New England fumbles on the first three possessions. While the Patriots had little offensive rhythm in the first half of the season, Brady has gotten it back in the last few weeks. Much of that is due to the return of tight end Rob Gronkowski.
It’s been a disaster for the Texans this season and many of their closest observers point to last year’s 42-10 destruction in Week 14 at New England as the source of their poor play. Case Keenum has thrown the ball fairly well in relief of the beleaguered Matt Schaub, but he has not been able to lead the Texans to a win and it’s doubtful he will do it here.
Offense
Winner The Patriots want to run the ball in order to take pressure off of Brady and their defense, but it may not be Stevan Ridley in this game because he had an egregious fumble that was returned 60 yards for a touchdown. Look for Brandon Bolden and Shane Vereen to get the call running the ball. Gronkowski is a big-time playmaker, while Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola know how to get open.
The Texans have a solid offense from a statistical point of view as they rank 10th overall in yards per game. Running back Ben Tate is a gutsy runner who is playing with broken ribs. Wide receiver Andre Johnson is a huge target who wins the battle against most defensive backs. The Texans could get a lift if Owen Daniels (leg) can return from his injury and contribute.
Defense
The Patriots have been hurt this year by injuries to Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo, but this unit continues to battle. They are vulnerable against the run – Knowshon Moreno ripped them apart in Week 12 – but cornerback Aqib Talib is an outstanding cover man who can handle big receivers. Defensive end Chandler Jones has 10.5 sacks and 61 tackles.
Winner The Texans have an exceptional statistical ranking, but even though they are first in fewest yards per game, it’s not a season where they can hold their heads up high. Defensive end J.J. Watt is a remarkable talent, and he has a team-high 56 tackles and 9.5 sacks. Here’s a telling stat: No Texan defensive player has more than one interception.
Special Teams
Winner The Patriots took advantage of a special-teams miscue by the Broncos to win in overtime in their epic contest. Placekicker Stephen Gostkowski nailed the game-winning field goal and he is remarkably consistent in game-winning situations. Left-footed Ryan Allen is averaging 46.0 yards per punt.
Special teams have been a problem area for the Texans for several seasons. They struggle to contain their opponents on punt and kickoff returns, although Keshawn Martin has a punt return for a score. Randy Bullock is just 19-of-28 on his FG attempts.

The Winner Is

(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Winner New England Patriots
3 out of 4

The Patriots have a chance to go after one of the top two seeds in the AFC after their win over the Broncos, so they can't afford a letdown against the struggling Texans.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Which Team Has The Super Bowl Edge? New England Patriots Vs. Seattle Seahawks

    The Patriots have managed to outsmart both the Ravens and Colts with trick plays in the postseason, and the Seahawks will have to be on high alert here.

  2. 2012 NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii Richard Dean Anderson who played MacGyver
    Would You Rather Watch The NFL Pro Bowl Or MacGyver Reruns?

    The NFL Pro Bowl is technically still football. But what if there were something better to watch, like “MacGyver” reruns?

  3. Rex Ryan hugs player John Cazale holds his brother Al Pacino in a scene from the film 'The Godfather, Part II', 1974.
    Worse Betrayal, Rex Ryan Or Fredo Corleone From ‘The Godfather II’?

    Former New York Jets coach Rex Ryan will coach the Buffalo Bills next season. Does this betrayal top Fredo Corleone’s in “The Godfather II”?

See All Tales of the Tape
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,250 other followers