Here are five reasons why New England will beat Houston in their AFC divisional matchup.
This Sunday, the Patriots will face the Texans in one of two AFC divisional round playoff games. This game is not likely to be close. New England will dominate Houston. The Patriots have the best record in the NFL at 14–2, while the Texans, who barely won their division, tied for the worst record going into the playoffs. There are many reasons the Patriots will beat the Texans. Here are a few.
The first reason the Pats will beat the Texans is an obvious one. Houston will be starting Brock Osweiler, who has thrown 16 interceptions and 15 touchdowns, has a completion rating of 59%, and has a QB rating of 72.2. His season was so poor that he was even benched in week 15. He only started last week’s wild card game because the Texans’ preferred QB, Tom Savage, was injured.
The Patriots will be starting Tom Brady, arguably the best QB ever, and a serious MVP candidate. Brady has almost double Osweiler's touchdowns, an eighth of Osweiler's interceptions, and a QB rating of 112.2. Brady broke the record for best touchdown-to-interception ratio in a single season this year. He is 11–1 in 2016 and holds the record for most playoff wins ever.
The Battle of the Two Bills
One of them has a .739 winning percentage with his team; the other is named Bill O’Brien. To show how much better Pats coach Bill Belichick is than O’Brien, look no further than the September matchup featuring the Texans and the Patriots in which the Patriots shut out the Texans 27–0. The game included a healthy J.J. Watt, while the Patriots started third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Who? Exactly. Although O’Brien served as an assistant coach under Belichick for five seasons, O’Brien has never reached Belichick's level of success. The pupil is not going to beat the mentor in this case.
Home Sweet Home
The Patriots are virtually unbeatable at home during the playoffs: They are 15–4, and for divisional playoff games, they’re an even more impressive 6–1. While the Texans were 7–1 at home, they were not a great road team, losing six of their eight games outside of Houston. The Texans have never won a playoff game on the road.
We’re Number One???
Although the Houston defense ended the season ranked first in the NFL, rankings aren’t everything. Houston's defense may have allowed opponents the fewest yards all season, but the Patriots gave up the fewest points. Houston gave up five more points per game than the Patriots, whose opponents averaged a measly 15.6 per game. And the Texans won’t beat the Patriots with rushing. The New England defense has allowed the third-fewest rushing yards in the NFL, compared to the Texans, who were 12th in the league. The Houston defense might have a good game on Saturday, but don’t be surprised to see the Patriots defense showing up too.
If the Texans were playing in Houston, they’d either be comfortable inside their air-conditioned dome, or, if the roof were open, they could enjoy predicted temperatures in the low 70s. That, they’re used to. But that’s not happening. The Texans will be heading up to open-air Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, where the predicted high is 28 degrees.
The Patriots are smarter and better at every area of the game. This matchup will not be a nail-biter. The Pats will take the lead early and never look back.
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