It's Patriots vs. Houston: Three things to consider

After all, the Patriots beat the Texans 27-0 on a Thursday night during the regular season.

During the Super Bowl era, which dates to 1966, there have been at least four playoff or Super Bowl games where a team was favored by 15 or more points.

"This is a day-to-day league", the quarterback said.

As opposed to the easy task of taking down a rookie on Saturday, playing against quarterback Tom Brady will present an entirely different challenge for Houston's defense. "They're a long ways away from where they were before and we know that".

Head Coach Bill O'Brien is a former Patriots offensive coordinator, Houston defense coordinator Romeo Crennel held the same position under Bill Belichick, former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel is an assistant for the Texans and former defensive tackle for the Patriots Vince Wilfork is a member of the Texans. We cooled off. We ended up winning the game (when) Jerod Mayo made a great interception to end that game.

The Texans made it to this point by winning the very bad AFC South with a 9-7 record and beating the Raiders, who were starting third-string rookie Connor Cook at quarterback, in the wild-card round. They are the biggest favorite since 1998 when the Minnesota Vikings also opened as 16-point favorites against the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Divisional Playoff.

"I've stated many times that, to me, he's the best quarterback to play the game". And Houston's much-maligned quarterback Brock Osweiler had his best National Football League moment against the Patriots, leading the Broncos back from a 21-7 deficit in primetime last season.

"Not only that, [Mercilus] is a damn good player", Brady said. However, here are some keys for New England as they prepare for the Texans. This time around, though, Brady will get a chance to face the NFL's top-ranked defense.

He and his team basically played passively, a big-time no-no against the Patriots.

Coaches regularly will tell their players, "If we win, you'll get your awards". I studied them all day [Sunday].

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