If only J-Jo could be enlarged and cloned, so as to ensure coverage of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. - Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Will the Texans avenge their Week 14 meltdown against the Patriots, and clinch a berth in the AFC Championship Game, on Sunday in New England? One man joins the chorus with his predictions.
After the annihilation visited upon the Texans in Week 14, you'd think virtually every Texans fan would be resigned to a loss on Sunday. Not so. I would love nothing more than to see your Houston Texans advance to the AFC Championship Game. Do I think it'll happen? You'll have to read three (3) other specific predictions about Texans-Patriots before I answer my own question.
1. Arian Foster continues his delightful habit of playoff dominance. When the Texans and Patriots met a month ago, Foster had but 15 carries for 46 yards and 4 receptions for 39 yards. On Sunday, the output is increased to 23 carries for 114 yards and 7 catches for 56 yards. And a touchdown.
2. Tom Brady threw only 8 interceptions in the 2012 regular season. 4 of those picks came in Week 15 (in a loss to the 49ers) and Week 16 (in a win over the...what...Jaguars?). You'll recall that Brady threw 4 TDs and 0 INTs against the Texans in Week 14. Will he throw a pick on Sunday? Nope. The Patriots will, however, fumble once, and the Texans will recover it.
3. The million dollar question as it pertains to this weekend's playoff game seems to be Matt Schaub. I don't think his performance is going to be the deciding factor in Sunday's contest. I expect Schaub to work the middle of the field with great success, to get off the touchdown schneid (he'll throw one TD pass, and it'll be to Owen Daniels), and to throw one interception. In other words, his final stat line will do nothing to quiet the debate about whether he is capable of leading the Texans to a championship (though I remain resolute that he can, I acknowledge that those on the other side of that question are not without logic in their stance).
PUT YOUR NAME ON IT: I really, really, REALLY want to pick the Texans to win. I just can't. I don't think the Texans can go score for score with New England, and I believe the Patriots will win the turnover battle (2-1, for the record) Though I do not expect a pasting that will call to mind the horrors of Week 14, I fear the best season in franchise history ends in Massachusetts on Sunday afternoon. Patriots 27, Texans 17.
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