The Houston Texans are two entirely different teams depending on where the game takes place.
At home, the Texans are 8-1 this year, tied with the Seattle Seahawks for the best record; they average a 6th-worst 20.9 points per home game on offense, but rank an excellent 5th in the NFL with 16.3 points allowed per home game.
On the road, they are an abysmal 2-6, tied for the 6th worst record in the NFL. They are much worse on offense, averaging a 31st-ranked 14.8 points per away game, and their defense isn’t able to save the game allowing 24.4 points per away game, ranking 17th in the NFL.
For comparison, the Patriots defense allowed a 2nd-best 15.5 points per home game (124 total) and an NFL-best 15.8 points per road game (126 total). That’s consistency.
On offense, they averaged 26.8 points per home game- 31.2 points per home game with QB Tom Brady, 19.3 points per home game with QB Jimmy Garoppolo and QB Jacoby Brissett. On the road, they averaged 28.4 points per game- 29.1 points per road game with Brady, 23 points with Garoppolo.
The Texans split-performance gets more interesting when you look at the individual numbers. Texans quarterbacks have a 75.9 rating at home, but a 71.9 rating on the road- not noticeably big enough to cause such a change in output. Texans quarterbacks have a 62.4% completion rate at home (praise be to the retractable roof), versus 56.2% on the road- but they’ve thrown 12 interceptions at home versus just 4 on the road.
Perhaps the difference is due to a change in defending the pass. The Texans defense allows a passer rating of 70.7 while at home, the third best mark in the league behind only the Chiefs (67.5) and the Broncos (68.8), and they allow a 56.7% completion rate (5th best in the league).
When the secondary goes on the road, they fall to pieces. They allow an opposing passer rating of 91.4 (15th) and a 62.7% completion rate (11th). Patriots quarterbacks boast a 110.5 passer rating while on the road, versus 108.4 while at home. They’ll find a way to succeed.
When you look at the rushing game, Houston actually averages far more yardage on the road (4.36 yards per carry, 12th in the NFL) than at home (3.65 YPC, 27th in the NFL). There is an almost negligible difference on defense (4.02 yards allowed per home carry, 13th; 3.93 yards allowed per road carry; 11th).
An explanation on their differing performances could come down to scheduling. They played the Packers, good-Vikings, good-Raiders, Broncos, and Patriots on the road, while they played the Lions, Bears, Bengals, Chiefs, Chargers, and bad-Raiders at home. That’s a pretty striking difference.
Of course that doesn’t bode well for the Texans; if they struggled on the road against good teams all year, then they’re probably going to struggle against the Patriots. Houston was fortunate to need just 12 yards off of great field position to take an early 10-0 lead against the Raiders. The Patriots won’t give up the easy scores- and the Bad Texans are expected to show up.