Three Keys to a Patriots Divisional Round Win

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By PFC Patriots Blogger Shaun Brown

Keeping Arian Foster in check in the running game is one thing the New England Patriots did very well in their previous meeting with the Houston Texans on December 10th at Gillette Stadium. Foster was limited to just 45 yards on 15 carries in his lackluster performance just a month ago.

Limiting Foster’s touches within the Houston offense makes them one dimensional which seemed to make all the difference last month. This being said, the Patriots young secondary needs to stay disciplined and not fall for play action and leave the Texans explosive receivers, like Andre Johnson, wide open in New England
territory. A task like this isn’t an easy one, but the Pats took Foster out
of the game early last time, and doing the same come Sunday, will ease their
road to victory.

While the New England defense kept Foster’s yards limited, the offense scored touchdowns early, and often. Jumping out to a 21-0 lead to end the first half may have contributed to the one sided offensive attack that Houston had to deploy in the second half. Tom Brady and the offense looked comfortable moving the ball down the field the rest of the game. This brings me to my next key stat to a win on Sunday: Consistency on Offense.

The Patriots cannot come onto the field after the coin toss and allow points to be put up on the opposing side of the scoreboard, Week 15 proved that against San Francisco. Matt Schaub is veteran enough to not make the same mistakes that Colin Kaepernick made and allow a red hot Patriots offense to come back on the field time after time.

All year long, J.J. Watt has been called the best defensive player this year and
rightfully so. We all know what he is capable of, batting passes down at the
line, deflecting balls that force interceptions, and even stripping running backs to force fumbles. Pressure isn’t going to completely stop Brady from being who Brady is.

A seasoned veteran like Brady, isn’t really going to be thrown off his game too much. But getting pressure on him is the best way to force him into making those mistakes. Texans are going to be big underdogs this Sunday; turnovers could prove to be the difference maker, whether they come in the form of forcing a fumble from Brady in the backfield or intercepting him in the secondary. Keeping pressure away from Brady and allowing him time in the pocket to step into his passes has lead to his success this season.

All three of the points listed above were stand out observations in the last
meeting between these two teams.

Hopefully the Patriots can keep the formula the same against Houston on Sunday, but then again don”t expect to see the same Houston team come back to Gillette Stadium and completely get torched by Tom Brady. This will be a test of two veteran quarterbacks going toe to toe with something to prove.