In only six days the New England Patriots will enter the 2016 NFL playoffs. Their opponent has been set today: The Houston Texans will visit Foxboro next Saturday (8:15 PM ET). With the Pittsburgh Steelers beating the Miami Dolphins 30-12, the Texans are left as the lowest remaining seed and thus have to travel to New England to play the top-seeded Patriots.
Houston advanced to the divisional round due to a 27-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders yesterday. The team, coached by former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, played one of its best games of the season against Oakland. Next week, however, it will face a different challenge than the Connor Cook-led Raiders.
The Patriots and Texans have already played each other earlier this season. New England, led by rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett, was able to defeat the visiting Texans 27-0 in week 3. However, a lot has changed since then – most notably the return of Tom Brady on New England’s side, and the loss of J.J. Watt on Houston’s.
As noted yesterday, next week’s game will be the second postseason meeting between the Patriots and Texans. The two teams faced each other in the 2012 divisional round as well; a game New England won 41-28. Overall, New England has hosted Houston four times since the team was founded in 2002 – and the Patriots won all four games rather decisively: They won 40-7 in 2006, 42-14 and 41-28 in 2012, and 27-0 earlier this year.