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On the Beat: 5 questions about the Texans, II

Posted by Greg A. Bedard  January 13, 2013 09:45 AM

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We checked in again this week with Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle to get the inside scoop on the Texans.

1. Let's just cut to the chase: why should I believe Matt Schaub has it in him to play the game of his life on Sunday?

TG: "You don't have to believe that, but the Texans don't need that in order to win. That's not how their offense is designed. It's not about outscoring the Patriots, they won't win if they try to do that. What they need to rely on is limiting the Patriots offense, which can be done, and not letting Vince Wilfork shut down their running game."

2. Who is the one Texans player most Patriots fans don’t know right now, but will by the end of the game on Sunday?

TG: "Last month I said James Casey, their fullback who is really a tight end. This month I'll go with Earl Mitchell. Mitchell is the Texans' backup nose tackle, but plays significant snaps despite not starting and is critical for the Texans against the run. Though he only had one tackle for loss last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, he was very active in affecting plays."

3. What’s the biggest weakness on the Texans’ offense you expect the Patriots to try to exploit?

TG: "If the Texans can't make opponents fear, or at least respect, their running game, their offense struggles."

4. What’s the biggest weakness on the Texans’ defense you expect the Patriots to try to exploit?

TG: "The Texans' defensive backs did a commendable job on A.J. Green last weekend, but late in the game Green got open in the end zone. He might have scored a game-winning touchdown had his quarterback been more accurate. The Patriots were terrific on play action against the Texans last month. Brady's precision could hurt the back end."

5. Finally, Texans win on Sunday if …

TG: "...if their defense plays its best game of the season."

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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