By Dave Thomas
If you were scripting the scenes for a horror movie, there is a very good chance you would want to include some footage from the 2013 Houston Texans football season.
This past Sunday, the Texans and their fans watched in horror as Houston dropped its ninth straight game, this one a 13-6 setback to the equally bad Jacksonville Jaguars (also 2-9). For Houston, is there any end to this collapse that has been the 2013 season?
On the heels of nine straight defeats, the Texans now have the task (not an enviable one at that) of hosting the AFC East leading New England Patriots this Sunday at Reliant Stadium. Yes, the schedule maker certainly is not a fan of the Texans.
Patriots Come in Off Denver High
For those that may have either fallen asleep or turned the game off Sunday evening, New England rallied in the bitter cold at home for a 34-31 overtime win over Denver. In a game that saw the Patriots behind 24-0 at halftime, Tom Brady and Co. pulled off a rally for the ages in New England football history. With the win, the Patriots maintained a rather comfortable lead in the AFC East over both Miami and the New York Jets (both 5-6).
So, what can head coach Gary Kubiak and the Texans expect when they try to snap their nine-game losing streak this Sunday?
For starters, you have a New England team clearly focused on trying to get the top seed in the AFC come the end of December. As it stands now, Denver would be the top seed if the playoffs started, with New England grabbing the number two spot. Both Denver and Kansas City sit at 9-2, but the Chiefs (by virtue of losing to Denver a week ago) would not be on top in the AFC West.
In their come-from-behind win versus Denver this past Sunday in Foxboro, the Patriots once again turned to their future Hall-of-Fame quarterback to get the job done. When all was said and done, Brady had orchestrated one of the most exciting comebacks in recent NFL history.
Brady comes into Sunday’s contest versus the Texans having thrown for 2,896 yards and 17 touchdowns through 11 games. His top targets include wide receiver Julian Edelman (610 yards receiving, four touchdowns) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (433 yards receiving, three touchdowns), the latter of whom is getting healthier.
One of New England’s big problems early on against Denver was running the ball, along with holding onto it. In general, the Pats turn to running back Stevan Ridley (576 yards rushing, seven touchdowns).
On the defensive side of the ball, New England may not have the ferocious ‘D’ it had a few seasons back, but it will still prove a test for a struggling Texans team. New England looks to defensive end Chandler Jones (10.5 sacks) and linebacker Brandon Spikes (69 total tackles) to lead the way.
For a Houston squad that is just looking for a win at this point, hosting one of the AFC’s best teams certainly won’t make that an easy task.
For more Houston Texans news and updates, visit Houston Texans Central.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.