1) Mistakes will happen, but the Texans will need to make sure they make fewer than New England and do a better job at taking advantage of such mistakes. Looking at you, Kareem Jackson.
2) Patience. The Pats O will gladly dink and dunk the Texans to death, the Pats D might also dare Schaub to try matching dinks for dunks. The Texans will need to be just as patient on both sides of the ball.
3) The Texans got to start strong and hang around. The Pats don't do mercy. If they're ahead by 2 TDs early they'll try to make it 3 TDs, then 4, and so on.
4) Be unpredictable. The Pats under BB treat every game as its own season. They are extremely specific to the opponent in their game-planning. In the past, teams have taken advantage of this by doing what they do not usually do to catch New England off-guard.
5) On Defense, they need to play assignment-football. Manning up and blitzing didn't work before and it won't work again, not on its own. They got to add more zone with enough guys to run it effectively. Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, and Rob Gronkowski are going to look between the numbers to find mismatches within the first 3 seconds of the play. Houston's edge defenders got to be willing to come up and get in the faces of these three, especially Rob Gronkowski. Let them have free releases and they might chip-block the edge-defenders, they might stay in to block, or they might have a timing route. Hit them early and often to disrupt their chip-blocks and timing-routes. Back deep, their Safeties got to be more disciplined and gamble less or else Brady will do what he loves to do to Safeties; fake them out hard and fast. Disrupting the precision and complexity of the New England Offense is more important than trying to hit Brady.
6) Still on D, Houston has to be willing to rush as few as two or three guys. TexansDC had the right idea when discussing 4-man rushes over excessive blitzes(defined as 5+ rushers). Disguises will be key, unpredictability will be key, and having guys to clog up the middle of the field will be key. With exception to Brandon Lloyd out-wide, this New England Offense is a middle of the field Offense. I'll say that again to absolutely emphasize this point; with exception to Brandon Lloyd out-wide, this New England Offense is a middle of the field Offense. The Pats got a great OLine coach and Brady can read a D if you let him; blitz too much and, well,you've already seen what happens. Someone is open, someone is greatly mismatched, someone probably didn't get down on a TE at the line of scrimmage because they didn't want to slow down their pass rush and instead offered a free release. The Pats like being the fastest-paced Offense in the league, so slow them down.
7) Furthermore on D, respect the Pats run-game. Belichick learned from past experience and got some explosion at RB so they could run it hard against those nickel and dime packages. Pats O runs a lot of 2-TE sets, meaning if they aren't careful Gronk and Hernandez are going to be run-blocking against DBs significantly smaller than they are. Remember that key on the importance of patience? The Pats can be very patient.
8) On Offense, Houston needs to let their Arian Foster try to break the edge. Running up the middle won't work. To go back to key #2, they got to be willing to stick with Arian Foster. Just because they're down a TD or 2 early doesn't mean they got to suddenly try to have Matt Schaub bring them back against Brady and Co. Be patient and play to your strengths and play away from the New England D's strengths; meaning, do not run at Vince Wilfork who's got those big thumping LBers backing him up.
9) Still on O, they should be willing to dink and dunk. The need for patience shows up here again. The Patriot LBers are a big group who have struggled at times in pass-coverage, including against TEs. Owen Daniels, Garrett Graham, and Arian Foster will have their opportunities in the short and intermediate passing-game. Andre Johnson may have his chances with CBs Talib and Dennard(who are both coming back from injury) but be wary of going deep as FS Devin McCourty is going to be waiting for another opportunity to pick off Matt Schaub again. QBs throwing into McCourty's coverage this season, when he's at FS, have average a 10.1 passer-rating. The Texans shouldn't try passing it that way, especially if Arian Foster is waiting underneath to make an easy play in the passing-game. Remember point #2?
10) Furthermore on O, while patience and mistake-free football is going to be very key they got to be bold. If it's 4th and 1 on New England's side of the field, go for it. If they have a chance to get a TD instead of a FG, go for it. They have got to sustain drives, eat up clock, and get some TDs early to keep Brady off the field as much as possible and, for when he's on the field, make him feel like he has to take the entire game on his shoulders. If Brady ends the game with over 50 pass-attempts it's unlikely to be to New England's benefit. Every minute that the Texans O has the ball is a minute that Brady does not have the ball. The time of possession matters because, trust me, the Pats will be aiming for a TD everytime their O has a chance to get on the field.
Bonus Key: Like with Peyton Manning, Tom Brady is a QB with excellent pocket-presence and a quick release. These two QBs both excel against edge-pressure. The pressure that works best against them is pressure from right up the gut. They aren't going to break off around the edge to make a play, they would much rather step up into the pocket to make a throw. A key is to making sure they can't step up into the pocket.
I'll try to answer questions below although be patient as it is the weekend.