FOXBORO, Mass. — HOUSTON (13-4) At NEW ENGLAND (12-4)
Sunday, 4:30 p.m. ET, CBS
OPENING LINE — Patriots by 9 1/2
RECORD VS. SPREAD — Houston 10-7; New England 9-7
SERIES RECORD — Patriots lead 3-1
AP PRO32 RANKING — Texans No. 8; Patriots No. 2
LAST MEETING — Patriots beat Texans 42-14, Dec. 10, 2012
LAST WEEK — Texans beat Bengals 19-13; Patriots had bye.
TEXANS OFFENSE — OVERALL (7), RUSH (8), PASS (11)
TEXANS DEFENSE — OVERALL (7), RUSH (7), PASS (16)
PATRIOTS OFFENSE — OVERALL (1), RUSH (7), PASS (4)
PATRIOTS DEFENSE — OVERALL (25), RUSH (9), PASS (29)
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Teams meet for first time in playoffs after four regular-season games since Texans entered NFL in 2002. ... Patriots are AFC East champs and earned No. 2 seed by beating Miami 28-0 in regular-season finale after AFC South champion Texans lost to Indianapolis 28-16, dropping Houston to No. 3 seed and costing it a bye. ...Texans and Patriots allowed same number of points, 20.7 per game. Patriots led NFL in scoring with 34.8 average, Texans eighth with 26. ... Houston is in playoffs second straight season after missing them in first nine. ... Texans lost three of last four regular-season games, starting against Patriots when Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes. They barely edged Bengals despite an advantage of 420 to 198 yards and a time of possession of 38:49 compared to 21:11. ... Texans RB Arian Foster's 425 yards are most in first three playoff games by any player in NFL history. His 140 yards in wild-card win over Cincinnati made him only player with at least 100 yards rushing in each of first three playoff games. ... QB Matt Schaub threw for more than 4,000 yards for third time in four seasons. In last five games, starting with loss to New England, he's thrown one touchdown pass and four interceptions. ... Schaub completed 350 passes, Foster ran 351 times. ... WR Andre Johnson led AFC with 1,598 yards receiving on 112 catches, had eight receptions for 95 yards against Patriots. He made four for 62 against Bengals. ... Backup TE Garrett Graham, sidelined in first game against Patriots, should play after making three catches, two for first downs, against Cincinnati. LB Brooks Reed and RT Derek Newton also should play after missing earlier meeting. Both played in wild-card game. ... DE J.J. Watt led NFL with club-record 20 1-2 sacks and is only player with at least 15 sacks and 15 passes defensed in same season. ... Brady needs one win to break tie with Joe Montana for most victories in postseason by a quarterback. It would be Brady's 17th. ... Brady is 6-6 in last 12 playoff games after starting 10-0. ... Coach Bill Belichick's next postseason win also would be his 17th, moving him into third place ahead of Joe Gibbs. Tom Landry has 20 and Don Shula 19. ... Patriots' four losses were by total margin of 11 points. ... TEs Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, both sidelined for extended stretches, expected to play together for just sixth time this season. Gronkowski has 55 catches in 11 games, Hernandez 51 in 10 with two touchdown catches in win over Texans. ... WR Wes Welker tied for second in NFL with 118 catches, leads league over past six seasons with 672. ... RB Stevan Ridley had career-high 1,263 yards rushing in second season, seventh in league and one spot behind Foster's 1,424. Ridley's 84 first downs second to Foster's 88 in AFC. ... Patriots led NFL with plus-25 turnover differential, Texans seventh in NFL and second in AFC with plus-12. ... DT Vince Wilfork and DE Rob Ninkovich tied for second in NFL with four fumble recoveries. ... DB Devin McCourty tied for seventh in league with five interceptions, including one against Texans in end zone. ... Patriots DE Chandler Jones tied with Texans LB Whitney Mercilus for first among AFC rookies with six sacks.