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With a shot at hosting the AFC Championship in a week, the New England Patriots will have to knock off the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium in the divisional round of the playoffs. Let's take a look at my bold predictions.
With the No. 1 seeded Denver Broncos being eliminated out of the playoffs after their 38-35 loss against the Baltimore Ravens, the New England Patriots now have a shot to make the road to New Orleans go through Gillette Stadium.
However, before any of that can happen, the Patriots have to take care of business Sunday afternoon against the Houston Texans.
These two teams have already met once this year back in December, with the Patriots demolishing the Texans 42-14 on Monday Night Football.
With that being said, let's take a look at my bold predictions for New England's divisional playoff game against the Houston Texans.
1. This game will be closer than it was the first time
In all honesty, I don't think the Texans have much of a chance in beating the Patriots at Gillette Stadium—I'm not buying it. New England is just that much more talented than Houston, and the only way that I see the Patriots possibly losing if Tom Brady and New England's offense turn the ball over on several occasions.
With that being said, I do think that Houston is talented enough to hang around with the Patriots, but they're just not talented enough to win on the road in Foxboro.
2. Tom Brady won't throw any interceptions
When Tom Brady met the Texans earlier this season, he was near perfect as he posted an impressive 125.4 quarterback rating. Brady completed 21 of his 35 passes for 296 yards while tossing four touchdowns and didn't throw an interception.
I see Brady putting up similar numbers Sunday afternoon.
This is what Brady lives for—the playoffs. He will not play sub-par, he will post those Brady-like numbers that we're all accustomed to.
3. Matt Schaub will throw at least two interceptions
I really don't have faith in Matt Schaub.
If the ball is in Schaub's hands and he needs to come through, I just don't see it happening.
Schaub completed 29 of his 38 passes last week against the Cincinnati Bengals as he failed to throw a touchdown and was picked off once. Back on December 10 against the Patriots, Schaub also was picked off once and failed to throw a touchdown.
I just don't see Schaub rising to the occasion and he will ultimately be the major reason why Houston wont win this game.
4. Rob Gronkowski will score a touchdown
Houston, I'd like you to meet Rob Gronkowski.
When these two teams met back in December, Gronkowski wasn't able to play due to a fractured forearm. Even without Gronk, New England was still able to put up 42 points.
Now with Gronk, I see him having a huge impact on this game—he is the NFL's best tight end, in my opinion.
5. Arian Foster will be held to under 100-yards rushing
If there is one thing that New England's defense is good at, it's stopping the run.
New England finished this season with the league's sixth best run-defense.
When Foster met the Patriots earlier this year, he ran for just 46 yards on 15 carries while averaging 3.1 yards per-carry and punching in one touchdown.
I just don't see Bill Belichick allowing Foster any moving room—he will be taken out of the game due to New England's defensive gameplan.
Final prediction: New England: 27 Houston: 20
Like I said, I don't see Houston winning this game but I don't see it being a blowout much like it was back in December.
The Texans are a very talented team, but they're not talented enough to beat the Patriots on their home-turf.
With a chance to host the AFC Championship in the week, I really don't see Bill Belichick and the Patriots letting that opportunity slip away.