Randy Moss laying down on the job.
"At the end of the day, our scoring defense is top five," said Mayo, whose unit is tied for third with 16.7 points per game. "People can talk as bad as they want to about this defense, but you take away a couple bad games, and people might be talking about this being a No. 1 defense."
Christopher Price offers his five things to watch for Sunday afternoon against Houston. The O-Line is one of them.
The Patriots offensive line hasn’t allowed a sack over the last four games, and just 16 on the season (15 sacks of Brady and one on backup quarterback Brian Hoyer). And no New England quarterback has been sacked since the fourth quarter of the Nov. 30 loss to New Orleans, a stretch of four consecutive games that includes 240 minutes, 43 seconds of action.
The stats are all the more impressive considering the fact that the Patriots have spent most of the season shuffling its line because of injury. Sebastian Vollmer and Dan Connolly have stepped in several times this season at multiple positions, spelling starters like Matt Light, Dan Koppen and Stephen Neal, while Mark LeVoir has provided excellent depth at the tackle position.
Chances are good that the line will be able to stretch that streak well into Sunday’s game. The Texans’ pass defense is middle of the pack — it allows 216.3 yards per game, 17th in the league. And when it comes to sacking the quarterback, they’re tied for 25th in the league with 28.
- Patriots sign C Ryan Wendell to the 53-man roster, waive DL Titus Adams.
- Erik Scalavino says the Patriots' players sound anxious to play this weekend, plus notes and quotes following Thursday's practice at Gillette.
- Thursday Press Conference: Tom Brady (14:34 min. video) plus transcript.
- Patriots-Texans Thursday Injury Report. Everyone listed as either limited or full participation.
- Locker Room Quotes from Thursday's practice at Gillette.
- Patriots Today: Decade reflection as 2009 winds down. (9:12 min. video)
- Ian Rapoport reiterates Tom Brady's desire to play on Sunday, "Close game, blowout, if we get behind," he said. "I’m expecting to play the whole game. I wouldn’t see why I wouldn’t."
- Monique Walker notes Tom Brady feels the regular season finale is meaningful and has value.
- Ian Rapoport reports Jerod Mayo is far from satisfied with his own performance so far, but when looking into the strides Mayo has made, Belichick looks not to the stat sheet, but into Mayo’s head.
- Shalise Manza Young focuses on James Sanders, saying he's not only back but making a big impact.
- Mike Reiss points out Kyle Arrington had a season-high five special teams tackles Sunday against the Jaguars, and despite having played in just seven games, he now ties the team lead with 17 special teams tackles on the season (including a team-high 12 solo).
- Mike Reiss finds the Patriots will enter their season finale at Houston with almost an even split between playing base defensive alignments and sub packages this season.
- Monique Walker says the Patriots are preparing for the Texans' air attack.
- Mike Petraglia notes Texans' Andre Johnson is one 'smart' receiver.
- Jim Lazar "The Bet Box" makes his Week 17 picks, including Pats 27-23 over Houston.
- Boston Herald Patriots Notebook: WR Julian Edelman wants more - from his own performance; Brady says it's "a funny thing to get individual awards [Pro Bowl] in a team game"; Despite breaking the face of Jaguars TE Mercedes Lewis, James Sanders said he wasn’t fined for his hit last Sunday; Brandon Meriweather and Texans' Andre Johnson have a special bond as ex-Hurricanes.
- Mike Reiss offers the transcript of his Thursday on-line chat. Always good insight here.
- Jeff Howe gets Texas-born Patriots players to re-live their high school football glory days.
- WEEI looks back at the ten things we couldn't shut up about in 2009.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) AFC East's biggest disappointments.
- Look for Pats to rest offensive players. Defense needs to play against a tough Houston offense. (ESPNBoston)
- Mastering the art of football-speak. Bill Belichick is the NFL leader in footballisms. (SI)
- Charles Robinson (Yahoo! Sports) AFC wild-card contenders unworthy of berths.
- Adam Schefter (ESPN) Dream playoff matchups.
- Steve Wyche (NFL.com) All four wild-card matchups could be Week 17 repeats.
- Sunday Countdown (ESPN) Ditka, Johnson, Carter and Jackson make their Week 17 Picks. Keyshawn (as usual) is the only one offering the Patriots any love Sunday.
- Peter King (SI) Week 17 Predictions. Texans over resting Patriots 27-17, plus game preview.
- Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) Week 17 Picks: Eagles, Jets, Ravens should soar. Texans over Patriots 35-27.
- Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) Prisco's awards: Johnson runs away with Offensive POY.
- Jarrett Bell (USA Today) NFL's award season arrives in the New Year.
VIEW FROM HOUSTON
- John McClain (Houston Chronicle) Brady says he'll play four quarters; Moss, Welker also planning to play.
- Jerome Solomon (Houston Chronicle) Pressure is on the Texans and I'm worried for them.
- Jerome Solomon (Houston Chronicle) What the Texans need to make the playoffs.
- HoustonTexans.com Thursday practice notes and quotes.