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Patriots vs. Texans: Houston Will Be New England's Toughest Test All Season

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The 11-1 Houston Texans will travel to Gillette Stadium this Monday night to take on the New England Patriots. Some might consider this a must-win for the Patriots, that is only if the Patriots want to consider themselves Super Bowl contenders. There is no question that Houston will be New England's toughest test yet.

Andy Lyons

If you ask me, there is no team that has been more impressive all season long than the 11-1 Houston Texans. There is no doubt in my mind that the Texans are the NFL's best team and they happen to be my Super Bowl favorites entering Week 14.

With that being said, this will be the toughest test that the New England Patriots will face all season. If the Patriots want to prove to the NFL that they're dominant enough to return to the Super Bowl.

Entering Week 14, the Texans are 6-0 on the road this season, which is the only perfect record away from home in the league—which is a sure-sign of a tough team, as they have proven that they can win away from home.

The Texans have also won in many different ways, as they've blown teams out as well as won games in overtime—in fact, they're done it twice.

Houston is the NFL's fourth-ranked offense, led by quarterback Matt Schaub but many will argue that running back Arian Foster is the team's top offensive player. Foster can do it all as he's ran for 1,102 yards on the ground this season while averaging 91.8 yards per-game and scoring 13 touchdowns. As for being a receiver, Foster has been targeted 44 times while reeling in 30 of those 44 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns.

With Foster and Houston's being as dominant as it is, it doesn't end there—their defense is as good as it gets.

Houston currently has the sixth ranked defense in the league as they're allowing an average of 322.6 yards per-game while allowing 18.4 points per-game. Much of Houston's defensive success should be credited to defensive end J.J. Watt.

Watt is currently leading the AFC with sacks as he's recorded 15.5 as well as leading all defensive players that are not cornerbacks with an incredible 15 pass deflections. All in all, Watt is something special and should be a front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year.

Ultimately what this comes down for the Patriots is that if they want to be the best, then they have to beat the best.

Houston is the best that the NFL has to offer and until the Patriots knock off an elite team like the Texans, they'll simply be slated in as a few steps behind the league's best—but that can all change with one victory Monday night.

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