The Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs continues on Sunday as the Houston Texans visit the New England Patriots. The Odds for this game have New England favored by 9 points according to BetOnline after the game opened at New England -9.5. The total for the opened up at 49 and is currently at 48.5 at BetOnline.
The AFC South champion Houston Texans will get their second chance on Sunday afternoon after securing a rematch with New England by downing the Cincinnati Bengals, 19-13, in the wild-card round. Whether Houston can make it count against a Patriots team, which got to rest last week thanks in large part to kick-starting the Texans' 1-3 late-season collapse with a 42-14 rout in Week 14, remains to be seen.
Some of Houston's marquee talent shined on the big stage last weekend. Running back Arian Foster rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries, becoming the first player in NFL history to rush for 100-or-more yards in his first three career playoff games as the Texans ousted the Bengals from the postseason for the second straight year.
The Texans defense held Cincinnati to just 198 yards and an 0-for-9 mark on third downs, marking the first time since the 1988 AFC Championship Game that a defense didn't allow an opponent to convert on third down. To top the Patriots, however, the Texans will need far more from quarterback Matt Schaub, who missed last season's 31-10 victory over the Bengals in the playoffs due to a foot injury. Schaub finished 29-of-38 for 262 yards with one interception in his first career playoff start. The numbers were fine for but Schaub couldn't find the end zone and more will be needed against a high-powered Patriots team which sports the NFL's No. 1 offense.
In Houston's 42-14 loss at New England on Monday Night Football back on Dec. 10, Brady torched the Texans with an up-tempo offense, throwing for the four touchdowns and 296 yards.The Patriots' defense, meanwhile, held the Texans to just 14 points after Houston entered the game averaging 29.3 points per game. The Pats shut out the Texans in the first half and built a 42-7 lead before Houston closed out the scoring with a meaningless TD late.
A matchup of what was the two top scoring teams in the league at the time was a mismatch from the outset. It took New England, the AFC East champions, only one possession to start its scoring barrage as the Patriots surpassed their then-average of 35.8 points per game. Houston is 1-3 all-time against the Pats and has never won at Gillette Stadium.
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NFL Free Picks: Houston at New England Betting
What pro football bettors need to know about Houston Texans at New England Patriots on Sunday (1/13/13) - a free pick from Pregame.com's Vegas Runner, with Chris Andrews and host RJ Bell.