Both teams lead their divisions and have their sights set on one of the top two playoff seeds.
The teams also boast two of the top offenses in the league. The Texans average 389 yards per game. Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson will look to hook up early and often against the Patriots’ defense, as Schaub has found Johnson 74 times on the season for 1,114 yards. The Texans will also look to Arian Foster to continue punishing defenses with his running and receiving abilities. While Schaub, Johnson and Foster garner most of the attention from opposing defenses, Owen Daniels and Kevin Walter also pose threats for breakout performances.
The Patriots, meanwhile, lead the league in total offense, averaging 426 yards per game. Tom Brady leads the attack and will spread the ball out to Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd and Aaron Hernandez. Lloyd has not been targeted as often by New England, but with the absence of Julian Edelman, he should see a lot more balls coming his way and could return to his early-season form.
New England also has a pretty good back of its own in Stevan Ridley. The former LSU Tiger reached the 1,000-yard mark in last week’s win over the Dolphins. Along with Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead, he helps present a tough running attack that balances the Patriots’ aerial attack.
For New England’s offense to flourish, the Patriots will have to find a way to shut down J.J. Watt and the Texans’ swarming defense. The Texans will also have their hands full throwing the ball against a Patriots secondary that has improved over the past three games.
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