It’s a rare thing these days that the best game of the week would actually fall on Monday night. Well, here in Week 14, it has come true for the first time in a long time. The 11-1 Houston Texans are traveling north to Foxboro, Massachusetts to play the 9-3 New England Patriots. These are the division leaders in their retrospective divisions (the AFC South and AFC East) are playing what should be one of the best games of the season.
The Texans arrive an absurdly good road game (6-0 to this point), but they have yet to play in truly cold weather. And…once again they will avoid the bitter chill as they travel north of the Mason-Dixon Line. The forecast calls for mid-50s and rain. The rain is hardly going to be an issue as Houston runs a balanced offense, boasting the sixth most rushing yards (142.5) and the 10th most passing yards (247.1) per game.
New England is no slouch in the balanced offensive game. They used to rely solely on Tom Brady to find Wes Welker underneath and Rob Gronkowski down the seam. This season the Patriots are averaging the 8th most rushing yards (140.8) and the 6th most passing yards (285.5) per game.
A look at recent games shows the Texans dominance to be slipping. Two of the three last wins have been overtime wins against sub-.500 football teams. The last truly big win came in Week 10 in a win against the second-half Cutler-less Chicago Bears. The Pats decimated the Colts and the Jets in two of the past three weeks but last week’s seven-point win over the Dolphins is hardly something to brag about.
Yet, this game remains the best on the schedule because all of the recent woes will be left behind a game not perceived to be over before the first quarter even begins. These teams are playing for pride and a possible bye in the first round. The Texans can afford to lose this one, but this would put them within reach of the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens. Those two other AFC division leaders have the same record as the Pats, so this game is perhaps even more important for them. No matter which team decides to care more, these Texans-Patriots tickets are going to be an amazing experience.