On the Menu Today: REVENGE
Brian Barefield | 1/13/2017, 11:04 a.m.
If revenge is a dish best served cold, then the Houston Texans are trying to serve the New England Patriots a TV dinner that has been sitting in the freezer for over seven years. That was the last time the Texans defeated the Patriots (January 3, 2010). As they venture into a cold 29 degree Foxboro Stadium on Saturday, Houston will look to shock the world and come out with a victory over the number one AFC seeded New England Patriots.
As the divisional round of the playoffs began the Texans, lead by the number one overall defense in the NFL, will try and advance by taking on the guy seeking his revenge as well on the entire NFL in Tom Brady. The Patriots leader has a personal vendetta against Commissioner Roger Goodell over the Deflate Gate scandal that rendered him a four game suspension at the beginning of the season. Brady came back to prove he was still the best QB in the game by completing 67.4% of his passes while throwing for 3,554 yds, 28 TD’s and only 2 interceptions all while leading the Patriots to an 11-1 record since his return. All those stats lead the Texans Head Coach Bill O’ Brien and former Patriots assistant to say, “I’ve stated many times that to me he’s the best quarterback to play the game. So in preparation for him, it’s very difficult.”
Speaking of quarterbacks. The Texans have named Brock Osweiler the starter even though Tom Savage has cleared the league’s concussion protocol. Hopefully, Brock will finally show all of the Houston sports fans that doubted him why the Texans gave him that big free agent contract. Osweiler’s last meeting didn’t go so well with the offense being held to zero points and his stats were less than stellar (24-41 for 196 yds). In order to avoid a repeat, the Texans must rely heavily on the run game, which features another Houston free agent RB Lamar Miller. He had 111 yards from scrimmage the last time the two teams met, which will put the Patriots defense on high alert. “Stopping the run in this league is big,” said O’Brien when asked about New England’s ability to stop the run. If Houston can establish that aspect of the game it may open up the field for DeAndre Hopkins who is having a very sub-par year when you compare his numbers from last year. He scored a touchdown last week which might be the thing needed to make the Osweiler-Hopkins connection come alive.
The advantage that Houston has coming into this game as previously stated is the number one defense in the league. And they are doing this without their all-pro defensive lineman JJ Watt who ironically was put on season ending injury reserve after the 1st Patriots meeting. The Texans will rely heavily on 2016 all- pro DE Jadeveon Clowney. He is finally showing the league why he was the number one overall pick by Houston in the 2014 NFL Draft. Although held in check in their first meeting (2 total tackles), this is a different player now. “He makes plays on the football even when he’s getting after the quarterback or tackling the running back,” says his biggest supporter Coach O’Brien. This time around Clowney will have help with the relentless pursuit from LB Whitney Mercilus, the healthy return of LB Brian Cushing after missing the first game with the Patriots due to injury, and a defensive backfield with rising star CB A.J. Bouye. They will have their hands full trying to contain Tom Brady. “I think the guy’s the most poised quarterback in the NFL. He just keeps calm, and that’s what makes him so good,” Clowney stated when talking about the all-pro.
If the Texans can keep their turnovers down (they had 3 in the last meeting), apply pressure on Brady, and get a great game out of Osweiler. They have a fighter’s chance of coming out ahead of New England with a win. That’s a lot of ifs. Especially going against a mastermind in Head Coach Bill Belichick. Some way, somehow, he always finds a way to win. Maybe the Texans will have to put that dinner back in the freezer for another year.