The New England Patriots will take on the Houston Texans in the AFC Divisional Round on Saturday as heavy favorites after they shutout the Texans 27-0 during their Week 3 victory at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots’ defense, which finished the season ranked first in points allowed per game, stifled quarterback Brock Osweiler in that matchup, surrendering only 196 yards and forcing an interception. It’s that secondary, namely cornerback Malcolm Butler, that has Texans head coach Bill O’Brien impressed ahead of Saturday’s showdown.
“When you look at him and you look at his whatever you want to call it – height, weight, speed – maybe it’s not exactly like some other corner on some other team,” O’Brien said Tuesday in a conference call with New England media.
“When you put the film on, you see a guy that’s playing, in my opinion, as one of the best cornerbacks in the league. He’s very, very difficult to go against because he’s smart. He’s got great playing strength. He has very strong hands. He’s got a very strong way of playing the game. We think he’s an excellent player.”
This season Butler accounted for 17 pass defenses and four interceptions but was not named to the Pro-Bowl.
Butler and the Patriots will look to stifle the Texans offense again Saturday and punch their ticket to the AFC Championship Game.
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