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Texans Take On Defending AFC Champion Patriots

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(credit: Getty Images)

(credit: Getty Images)

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The AFC South champion Houston Texans (13-4) will travel north to face the defending AFC Champion New England Patriots (12-4) in an AFC Divisional showdown on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. CST at Gillette Stadium.

Houston lost 42-14 at New England on Monday Night Football in Week 14 of the regular season.

The Texans bolted to an 11-1 start but lost three of their last four games heading into the postseason before returning to form last Saturday with a 19-13 Wild Card win against Cincinnati at Reliant Stadium. Houston held

Cincinnati to 198 yards and 0-for-9 on third downs, marking the first time since the 1988 AFC Championship game that a defense didn’t allow an opponent to convert on third down. RB Arian Foster ran for 140 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries and became the first player to rush for more than 100 yards in each of his first three career playoff games.

Houston is one of only two teams to rank in the top 10 in offense and defense in the regular season. NFL sack leader and Defensive Player of the Year candidate DE J.J. Watt led the Texans’ seventh-ranked defense with 20.5 sacks, 107 tackles, 39 tackles for loss, 42 quarterback hits, 16 passes defensed and four forced fumbles.

Houston’s offense boasts six Pro Bowl selections, including the AFC’s leading receiver, WR Andre Johnson. Johnson caught 112 passes for a career-high 1,598 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Texans. Foster led the NFL in touchdowns for the second time in three years with 17 total scores and ranked second in the AFC with 1,424 yards rushing. QB Matt Schaub eclipsed the 4,000-yard mark for the third time in his career and was named to his second career Pro Bowl with a 90.7 passer rating behind an offensive line that features Pro Bowlers LT Duane Brown, LG Wade Smith and C Chris Myers.

New England had the league’s top offense during the regular season, producing 427.9 yards per game, and led the NFL in scoring with 34.8 points per game, the sixth-highest single-season average all-time. The Patriots are 16-6 overall in the postseason since 2001, including a 10-2 mark at home.

Houston is 1-3 all-time against New England and has never won at Gillette Stadium.

Are you optimistic? Post your take below.

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