HOUSTON – The Patriots will have to keep their wits about them on Sunday, facing an opponent that hasn't won in nine straight games and is desperate to pull off an upset.
"We’re too familiar with the feeling after a loss this year," said Texans defensive end J.J. Watt. "After the game and on Monday, you’re extremely frustrated. You’re upset, you’re angry. And then Tuesday is kind of a transition day, I mean for myself, I can only speak for myself. The frustration and anger continues, but then as the day goes on you have to move on to the next week, because the negativity is not going to get you anywhere. You have to come back to work, and you have to put your best foot forward and give it everything you have for that next week, and so by the time Wednesday rolls around, you start that next practice week. You have to be fully locked in and focused, and that’s the way that we approach it and that’s the way that I approach it, is put every single thing that I have into the game plan this week and into practice and into the film study and the weight room, and then go out there on Sunday and give it everything you got."
The Texans (2-9) have lost six of their last nine games by an average of 3.6 points, giving credence to the notion their record belies the team's talent.
"I think that the football team looks a lot like last year’s football team," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "They’re very, very good on defense. They have a lot of good players. They’re very disruptive up front."
The Patriots (8-3) have a 3-1 record against the Texans in the regular season, including last season's 42-14 win at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots followed that with a 41-28 win over the Texans in the postseason last year.
Here are the details for the game:
Kickoff: 1 p.m.
Records: Patriots 8-3; Texans 2-9.
TV, radio: CBS (Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf); 98.5 FM The Sports Hub (Bob Socci, Scott Zolak) and Sports USA (Larry Kahn, Ross Tucker).
Projected starting lineups:
Based on information distributed to the media, practice observations, and injury reports.
Patriots offense: WR Danny Amendola, LT Nate Solder, LG Logan Mankins, C Ryan Wendell, RG Dan Connolly, RT Will Svitek, TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Julian Edelman, QB Tom Brady, RB Stevan Ridley, WR Kenbrell Thompkins.
Patriots defense: DT Joe Vellano, DT Chris Jones, DE Chandler Jones, DE Rob Ninkovich, LB Dont'a Hightower, LB Brandon Spikes, LB Jamie Collins, CB Aqib Talib, CB Kyle Arrington, S Devin McCourty, S Steve Gregory.
Texans offense: WR Andre Johnson, LT Duane Brown, LG Wade Smith, C Chris Myers, RG Brandon Brooks, RT Derek Newton, TE Garrett Graham, WR DeAndre Hopkins, QB Case Keenum, FB Greg Jones, RB Ben Tate.
Texans defense: DE J.J. Watt, NT Earl Mitchell, DE Antonio Smith, SLB Brooks Reed, MLB Darryl Sharpton, MLB Joe Mays, WLB Whitney Mercilus, LCB Kareem Jackson, RCB Johnathan Joseph, SS D.J. Swearinger, FS Shiloh Keo.
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