While New England Patriots fans might be sick of hearing about all of the connections their team has with the Houston Texans every time the two franchises face off, they likely aren’t upset to see Bill O’Brien and crew come to town again this season.
This will be the eighth time the Texans have played the Patriots since 2012. The Patriots are 6-1 in those matchups with the lone loss coming in a preseason game this summer. So, why do they face each other so frequently?
In 2012, the Patriots played the entire AFC South division, and it was the Texans’ turn to come to Foxboro. The Patriots won 42-14 while Tom Brady threw for four touchdowns.
The Patriots faced the Texans again that season in the playoffs after the Patriots earned the No. 2 seed by winning the AFC East, and Houston got the No. 3 seed by winning the AFC South. The Texans beat the Cincinnati Bengals while the Patriots earned a bye.
The Patriots won again 41-28, moving on to the AFC Championship Game, while the Texans came to town in letterman jackets.
The Patriots played the Texans again in 2013, this time in Houston, because both teams finished in the same spot within their respective divisions in the previous year’s AFC standings. The Patriots topped the AFC East, the Texans topped the AFC South, so they played again. The Patriots won 34-31 after trailing 10-0 in the first quarter and 31-28 in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots managed to avoid the Texans in 2014 because the Indianapolis Colts won the AFC South.
They met again in 2015 because it was time for the Patriots to play the entire AFC South division again. Since the Texans traveled to New England in 2012, the Patriots went to Houston in 2015 and won 27-6.
The Texans and Patriots won their respective divisions again in 2015, so they played again, this time at Gillette Stadium, in 2016. The Patriots won 27-0 with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback.
Surprise, surprise, both teams won their divisions again in 2016 so they played each other in the playoffs. The Texans beat the depleted Oakland Raiders in the first round while New England earned a bye. The Patriots won 34-16 to earn a trip to the AFC Championship Game.
It’s unclear why the Patriots and Texans played each other in the preseason, but it’s possible the two teams requested the matchup. Teams can negotiate deals to play each other in the preseason. It seems unlikely the NFL would have scheduled the preseason contest since the two teams are playing in Week 3 of the regular season. The Patriots and Texans held a joint practice with one another. The Texans won the preseason game 27-23.
The Patriots are playing the Texans on Sunday because the two teams each won their division again in 2016.
They’ll play each other at Gillette Stadium again in 2018 because the AFC East and AFC South are scheduled to face off.
They’ll play once more in 2019 if both teams finish in the same spot within their division in the 2018 standings
Any two teams within the same conference could technically play each other every year if they continue to finish in the same spot in the previous year’s standings. It’s a testament to how good the Texans have been that they have to keep facing the Patriots.
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images
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