And, of course, each game has its own story when it comes to these two teams. This time around the story goes something like this….
The Patriots are coming off their most inspirational Super Bowl Championship game….ever. And that’s saying something because they have won (and lost) some squeakers in their Championship run.
The Texans are coming off another mediocre 9-7 season with low quality quarterback play and one of the worst offenses in the NFL.
These two teams met in week 3 last year in Gillette Stadium. The Texans had an easy win all lined up with both the Patriots first two quarterback options out of the mix. 27-0 win for the Patriots. Gut punch.
And worse yet…that game provided a blueprint for how to defeat the Texans offense for every defense they faced afterwards. Man coverage on Hopkins with a single high safety cheating over to Hopkins deep. No other serious offensive threats. Game over. They would face each other again in the Divisional Round…a game effort by the Texans defense but same result.
The Texans return to the scene of the crime with the defense that ranked 1st in the NFL last year in yards a allowed….and a healthy J.J. Watt. They also bring their rookie first round draft pick along for his first taste of what it’s like to play against a HOF coach and QB in the regular season.
The rookie, Deshaun Watson, got a close look at them both during a preseason game and some combined practices in West Virginia this summer.
They got a close look at him too, of course.
The Patriots under Belichick have a great record against rookie quarterbacks. I’m not sure that’s a useful stat, however. It’s like saying Lions have a good record against blue -eyed Wildebeest. Truth is lions have a good record against ALL wildebeest. The Patriots don’t lose much…no matter the opposing quarterback.
So Watson takes his first swing at the conference bully this weekend. I don’t like his chances…but there is one thing that I have noticed about this rookie. The NFL game doesn’t seem to big for him. He doesn’t get rattled easily.
Not sure that will be anywhere close to enough….but it would make for a great story.