In The Red Zone: Houston Texans at New England Patriots Preview Week 14

In The Red Zone

This Week

Houston Texans @ New England Patriots

The New England Patriots host the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on Monday at 8:30 p.m.

The Texans —- The Patriots
Overall 11-1 Overall  9-3
Road record  6-0 Home record 4-1
AFC East  3-0 AFC South  2-0
AFC  9-0 AFC 8-1

Terry McAulay is the game referee assigned to the game.

The Line/Prediction

As of Thursday the line on the game from via Yahoo Sports has the Patriots at MINUS 3.  The over under is 51.5.  

My prediction is Patriots 31, Texans, 30.  Take the points (Texans) and take the over.  I am 3-9 against the spread and 8 of 12 on calling the over/under in 2012.


The Patriots are reporting the game as a sell out. It is the 201st consecutive sell out dating back to the 1994 season opener.  The record includes preseason, regular season and playoff games.

Tickets to the game, if available, can be purchased through Ticketmaster.  You can check the availability here.

After market tickets are available through the Official Patriots Ticket Exchange where season ticket holders can sell their unused seats to fans on the season ticket waiting list.

Getting to the Game

If you’re lucky enough to be going to the game in Foxboro make sure you check out the links.

Former T Matt Light will be honored at halftime of the game.  Light, who attended Purdue, played his entire 11-year career with the Patriots.  He was a member of all 3 Super Bowl Championships.

Here is the up to date weather forecast from the Weather Channel for Foxboro MA.

Click for all the game day information including stadium directions, parking and information and map and a Gillette Stadium seating chart.


Here’s a bunch of different tailgating recipes from  There’s something there for everyone and every type of meal or snack.  I’ve tried some of the recipes and they’re very good. 

And with tailgating many people enjoy some adult beverages.  With that in mind check out Drink Nation for how to make all sorts of great drinks.  You can look things up by name, ingredient(s) or theme.

Whether it’s at the game, a bar or a friend’s house moderation is always the key to a great time.  Please don’t drink and drive and designate a sober driver.  Remember You Drink, You Drive, You Lose.



ESPN is televising the game nationally and Mike Tirico will do play by play while Jon Gruden will provide the game analysis.

You can also watch the game on the WatchESPN app.

Here are all the rules on NFL TV broadcasts including explaining the blackout rules, flex scheduling and commercial breaks.


The Patriots Radio Network broadcasts the game from flagship station WBZ-FM, 98.5 the Sports Hub in Boston. Gil Santos handles the play-by-play and former Patriots QB Scott Zolak will do game analysis. It all starts with Gary Tanguay and Andy Gresh with the pregame show at 5:30 p.m. along the network. The post game starts after the final gun and continues for three hours along the network.

The Patriots radio network call is available on Sirius Channel 93, XM Channel 226 and on SiriusXM Internet Channel 818.

The Texans Radio Network has Mark Vandermeer calling the game while former Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware provides the game analysis and Rich Lord covers the sideline via their flagship station KILT AM/FM.

Their call is available on Sirius Channel 92, XM Channel 225 and SiriusXM Internet Channel 812.

Dial Global Sports is carrying the game nationally via their affiliate network.  Kevin Harlan, Boomer Esiason and Mark Malone will call the game starting at 8 p.m.

Their call is available on Sirius Channel 88, XM Channel 88 and SiriusXM Internet Channel 88.

Patriots All Access

Patriots All-Access features behind the scenes looks, interviews and breakdowns with head coach Bill Belichick and in depth features on the team.  It’s hosted by Steve Burton of WBZ-TV (Boston) and airs weekly in most New England television markets.

  • Boston MA on TV 38 Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 9 a.m.
  • Providence RI on WNAC Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 9 a.m.
  • Manchester NH on WMUR Saturday at midnight
  • Portland ME on WMTW Sunday at 5 a.m.
  • Hartford CT on WCTX Saturday at 5 p.m.
  • Springfield MA on WFXQ Saturday at 7 p.m.
  • Bangor ME on WVII Sunday at 11 a.m.

You can also watch it anytime on the teams website in the media section.

To continue reading the Houston Texans @ New England Patriots Week 14 preview, please click on the continue reading button below if you're on the home page.

Last Week

The Patriots held off the Dolphins 23-16 in Miami.  The Texans beat the Titans on the road, 24-10.


  • This is the 4th meeting between the Patriots and the Texans since Houston became a franchise in 2002.
  • This is the second meeting between the teams at Gillette Stadium.
  • The Patriots lead the overall series 2-1.
  • This is the first prime time match up between the teams.
  • The Texans won the last meeting Week 17 in 2009 at Houston, 34-27.  It is also known as the game that Wes Welker tore his ACL in.

Patriots Team Notes

Here is the Patriots roster, depth chart and injury report for the game.

2012 Patriots Schedule/Results

The Patriots overall franchise record is 423-368-9.  They have won three Super Bowls (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX) in seven appearances.  Overall they are 23-16 in the post season.

They last appeared in the playoffs in 2011 when they beat Denver home in the AFC Divisional Playoff, 45-10 and defeated Baltimore 23-20 in Foxboro in the AFC Championship Game.  They lost Super Bowl XLVI to the New York Giants 21-17.

The Patriots were 13-3 (2-1 in playoffs) in 2011 and are the defending four-time AFC East Champions as well as the defending AFC Conference Champions.  They have won the division 10 times and the conference 5 times since 2000.

Last week the Patriots clinched their 15th AFC East title breaking a tie for most division crowns with Miami.

This will be the 20th season in franchise history that the team will have a playoff appearance.

This is their 12th consecutive winning season it is the longest current streak in the NFL.  Only Dallas and San Francisco with 16 consecutive winning seasons have ever won more.

New England is 21-22 all-time on Monday Night Football.  They were 2-0 in 2011.

The Patriots are 10-8 at home on MNF.

Since 1999 the Patriots have the best record in the NFL at 156-64.

New England now has a 6-game winning streak after starting the season 3-3.

Since 2001 the Patriots are 71-16 in games played on Thanksgiving or later.

Since 2001 New England is 42-5 in December games.

The Patriots have not lost a December home game since December 22, 2002 to the New York Jets, 30-17.

The Patriots have won 12 consecutive December games dating back to 2009.  They are the fourth team to have won at least 12 consecutive December games.  San Diego won 18 (2006-09); Dallas 13 (1968-72) and New England 12 (2006-08).

Since Gillette Stadium opened in 2002, the Patriots are 71-14 at home in the regular season.

New England is 80-47-1 against the teams that make up the AFC South. 

The Patriots are now a combined 20-0 in the second half of the season since 2010.  Their last loss in the second half was in 2009 in the season finale at Houston.

The Patriots have seven non-offensive touchdowns in 2012. The 2010 Patriots and 1961 Patriots teams own the team record with nine non-offensive touchdowns. The NFL record for most non-offensive touchdowns is 13 by Seattle in 1998.

Date             Game                     Touchdown

9/9/12          at Tennessee           Dont’a Hightower 6-yd. Fumble Return

10/21/12       vs. N.Y. Jets            Devin McCourty 104-yd. Kickoff Return

11/18/12       vs. Indianapolis        Julian Edelman 68-yd. Punt Return

11/18/12       vs. Indianapolis        Aqib Talib 59-yd. Int. Return

11/18/12       vs. Indianapolis        Alfonzo Dennard 87-yd. Int. return

11/22/12       at N.Y. Jets             Steve Gregory 32-yd. Fumble Return

11/22/12       at N.Y. Jets             Julian Edelman 22-yd. Fumble Return

The Patriots are 1st in the NFL in points per game with 35.8.  While they allow 21.7 points per game good for 14th in the NFL.

The New England defense has sacked the opponents quarterback 26 times this season while their quarterbacks have been sacked 19 times.

New England is PLUS 24 in turnover differential. The offense has given up 3 INT and 5 fumbles, while the defense has 14 INTs and 18 fumble recoveries. 

The Patriots are 83 for 156 (53.2%) in 3rd down efficiency and 1 for 3 (33.3%) on fourth down attempts.  Opponents are 61 for 136 (44.9%) in 3rd down efficiency and 6 for 14 (42.9%) on 4th down attempts.

New England is 35 of 52 (67.3%) in the red zone while opponents are 19 for 31 (61.3%) in the red zone in 2012.

In goal to go situations New England is 27 for 32 (84.4%) and opponents are 14 for 18 (77.8%).

Since Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994 they:

  • Have the most Super Bowl wins, 3.
  • Have the most regular season wins, 202.
  • Have the most wins including playoffs, 221.
  • Have the most conference titles, 6.
  • Have the most division titles, 12.
  • Have the most playoff wins, 19
  • Have played the most playoff games, 29.
  • Are tied for the most playoff seasons, 14.
  • Have the best playoff win percentage, .671.
  • Have drafted the most Pro Bowl players, 20.

New England set the following team records in 2011:

  • Total yards, 6,848.
  • First downs, 399.
  • Net passing yards, 5,084.
  • 100+ yard receiving games, 18.
  • Games with 30+ points, 12 (tied for most in NFL history).

Patriots Staff Notes

This is the link to head coach Bill Belichick’s Wednesday press conference on the Texans.

Bill Belichick is 2-1 vs. the Texans in his career.

Belichick is 15-8 on Monday Night Football, 14-5 as the Patriots head coach.

Overall in his NFL career Belichick is 184-100 in his 18th NFL season.  He is 148-56 with New England and 36-44 with Cleveland.  He is 17-7 in the playoffs, 16-6 as head coach of the Patriots in the post season.  When you combine his regular season and post season records he is 201-107.

Belichick’s 201 wins are good for a tie for 7th all-time with former Broncos, Giants and Falcons head coach Dan Reeves.

Belichick is one of five head coaches in NFL history whose father (Steve Belichick) played in the league.  The others are former Kansas City head coach Todd Haley (Dick Haley), former San Francisco head coach Mike Nolan (Dick Nolan), former Cincinnati head coach David Shula (Don Shula) and former NY Jets head coach Joe Walton (Frank Walton).

Belichick is one of just four coaches to win three Super Bowls, joining Chuck Noll (4), Joe Gibbs (3) and Bill Walsh (3).  Those men are all in the Hall of Fame.

He is the only coach in NFL history to win three championship titles in four seasons.

He is the only coach in NFL history to have led his team to 10+ wins in 9 consecutive seasons.

Patriots Possible Starters


LT: Solder

LG: Mankins

C: Wendell

RG: Connolly

RT: Vollmer

TE: Hernandez

TE: Fells

WR: Lloyd

WR: Welker

QB: Brady

RB: Ridley


DE: Ninkovich

DT: Wilfork

DT: Love

DE: Jones

LB: Mayo

LB: Spikes

LB: Hightower

LCB: Talib

RCB: Arrington

S: McCourty

S: Gregory

Patriots Players Notes

This is Tom Brady’s 13th NFL season he is 2-1 against Houston in his career. 

Brady is 12-4 all-time on Monday Night Football.  He has won his last 4 appearances and 9 out of the last 10. 

Overall Brady is 133-38 as a starting QB and is 16-6 in the playoffs for an overall record of 149-44.  Brady is a 7 time Pro Bowl QB; two time NFL MVP and has won 3 Super Bowls while twice being named the games MVP.  He is also listed as the 21st Greatest Player in the History of the NFL according to the NFL Network.

He was ranked in the preseason by ESPN’s Ron Jaworski as the 3rd best quarterback in the NFL.

Brady has 133 career wins he is 5th all-time.

Brady finished the 2011 season with 5,235 passing yards and joined Drew Brees (5,476 in 2011 and 5,069 in 2008), Dan Marino (5,084 in 1984) and Matthew Stafford (5,038 in 2011) as the only players in NFL history to reach 5,000 passing yards in a single season.

Brady has 325 TD passes in his career he is now 5th all-time.  Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton is 4th with 342.

Brady has thrown at least 1 TD pass in 44 consecutive games.

The Patriots are 88-16 when Brady throws at least 2 TD passes in a game.

Brady has 52 games in his career with 300 or more passing yards he is tied for 5th all-time with Kurt Warner.

On the season Brady is 298 of 460 (64.8%) for 3537 yards with 25 TDs and 4 INTs his QB rating is 102.6

WR Wes Welker now has catches in 113 consecutive games including playoffs, 96 as a Patriot.  The last time Welker did not have a catch in a game was 12/24/05 as a Dolphin.

Welker leads the team with 92 catches for 1064 yards.

Welker has the second most receptions (742) all-time among undrafted receivers. Rod Smith is the NFL’s all-time leader with 849.

TE Rob Gronkowski has 37 receiving touchdowns and 38 touchdowns overall (1 rushing) since 2010. The NFL record for most receiving touchdowns in a player’s first three NFL seasons is 43 by Randy Moss and the NFL record for most touchdowns overall by a player in his first three NFL seasons is 47 by Barry Sanders (4 receiving and 43 rushing).

He leads the team with 10 TDs, RB Stevan Ridley is 2nd with 9 TDs.

Ridley leads the team in rushing with 1010 yards on 225 carries.  He is the 12th Patriot to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and first since BenJarvis Green-Ellis in 2010.

K Stephen Gostkowski has two field goals of 50 or more yards in 2012.  With one more he will be the first Patriots kicker with three field goals of 50 or more yards in one season.

Gostkowski (7 for 10) needs one more field goal of 50 or more yards to tie Adam Vinatieri (8 for 17) for most in team history.

Rookie DE Chandler Jones and DE Rob Ninkovich lead the team with 6 sacks.

With one more sack Ninkovich will have a new career high for sacks.

Patriots rookie record for sacks is held by Garin Veris who had 10.5 in 1985.

Jones also leads the team with 11 QB hits.

Ninkovich and LB Brandon Spikes lead the team in forced fumbles with 5 each, which ties Mike Vrabel’s franchise record.   

Ninkovich and DT Vince Wilfork lead the team with 4 recovered fumbles each.

Mayo leads the team through 12 weeks with 151 tackles (94 solo).  Spikes is second with 115 tackles (75 solo).

Mayo is on pace to be the third Patriot to record a 200+ tackle season.  LB Clayton Weishuhn had a team high 229 (1983) and LB Steve Nelson had 207 (1984).

Rookie S Tavon Wilson leads the team in INTs with 4. He now has more INTs in his rookie NFL season than he did in his college career at Illinois.

S Devin McCourty also has team high 11 passes defensed in 2012. CB Kyle Arrington is 2nd with 8 passes defensed.

WR Matthew Slater has a team high 17 tackles on special teams.  Rookie S Nate Ebner is 2nd with 14 tackles on special teams.

There are only two players on the team who played on at least one of the Super Bowl championship teams, Brady (3) and Wilfork (1).

Roster moves this week:

  • RB Brandon Bolden is eligible to rejoin the team after serving a four game NFL suspension for violating the drug policy.
  • WR Julian Edelman broke his foot against Miami and has been placed on the season ending IR.
  • Signed WR Donte Stallworth.
  • Waived G Mitch Petrus.
  • Signed OL Tommie Draheim and OL Colin Miller to the practice squad.

On Thursday the following players were on the injury list. TE Rob Gronkowski (forearm/hip) and G Nick McDonald (shoulder) did not practice. DT Ron Brace (back); S Patrick Chung (shoulder); G Dan Connolly (back); TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle); LB Dont’a Hightower (hamstring); DE Chandler Jones (ankle); WR Brandon Lloyd (knee); DT Kyle Love (knee); G Logan Mankins (ankle/calf); LB Brandon Spikes (knee); T Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee) and WR Wes Welker (ankle) had limited participation. LB Jerod Mayo (elbow) had full participation in practice.

The Patriots captains for 2012 are QB Tom Brady, DT Vince Wilfork, G Logan Mankins, LB Jerod Mayo, CB Devin McCourty and WR Matthew Slater (special teams).

The Patriots have 5 New England natives on the roster they are: TE Aaron Hernandez (Bristol CT); OL Donald Thomas (New Haven CT); DE Ron Brace (Worcester MA); LB Niko Koutouvides (Plainville CT) and OL Jamey Richard (Weston CT – IR). 

They have 11 players who played for a New England school or a Big East Conference member.  They are CB Will Allen (Syracuse – IR); DE Ron Brace (Boston College); RB James Develin (Brown); RB Tony Fiametta (Syracuse – Exempt List); DE Justin Francis (Rutgers); S Stephen Gregory (Syracuse); DE Chandler Jones (Syracuse); CB Devin McCourty (Rutgers); OL Donald Thomas (UConn); OL Jeremiah Warren (South Florida – Practice Squad) and NT Vince Wilfork (Miami).

The Patriots have 6 retired numbers: 20 – Gino Cappelletti, 40 – Mike Haynes, 73 – John Hannah, 78 – Bruce Armstrong, 79 – Jim Lee Hunt and 89 – Bob Dee.

Texans Team Notes

Here is the Texans roster, depth chart and injury report for the game.

2012 Texans Schedule/Results

Houston’s all-time record is 76-96-0 they are 1-1 in the post season with their last post season appearance coming in 2011 when they beat the Cincinnati Bengals at home in the AFC Wild Card game and lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Division game on the road.

They have never played in a Super Bowl.

Their first season was in 2002.  They began play on September 8, 2002 with a 19-10 win over Dallas.

Since 2008, the Texans have the 3rd best road offense behind New Orleans and New England.

Houston is 1-2 all-time vs. New England and is 0-1 in Gillette Stadium.

The Texans are 12-10 all-time against the AFC East.

Houston is 2-4 on Monday Night Football.

Texans are 20-25 all-time in December.

Last season was the first time the Texans made the playoffs winning the AFC South.

Houston clinched its second consecutive playoff berth last week when they beat Tennessee.

2011 was the team’s winningest season they finished 10-6.

They now have a franchise high 11 wins in 2012.

They own a franchise record 6-game road win streak.

With a win they will have a 7-game win streak (overall) which would tie a franchise record.

This is the final game of three consecutive road games for the Texans, they have won the previous two.

The Texans have allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL this season, 15 (tied with New York Giants).

Houston is the only NFL team that is undefeated on the road this season.

The Texans have a team song called “It’s Football Time in Houston” written and performed by country star, Clay Walker.  They tried to replace the song in 2003 with one written by Chad Kroeger of Nickelback but a near riot quickly ensued.

The Texans also use “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against The Machine.  The song has given the defense its nickname, Bulls on Parade.

The Texans mascot is Toro.

The Texans defense has allowed opponents to convert 28.4% (46 for 162) of the time on 3rd down and they are 33.3% (5 for 15) on 4th down.  The offense has a 3rd down conversion rate of 39.5% (68 for 172) and on 4th down has converted 80% (4 for 5) of the time.

The Houston defense has sacked the opponents quarterback 36 times in 12 games. While the Texans QB’s have been sacked 15 times.

The Texans are 2nd in the NFL in points per game with 29.3.  While they allow 18.4 points per game good for 4th in the NFL.

Houston is PLUS 14 in turnover differential, tied for 2nd in the NFL. The offense has given up 10 INT and 2 fumbles, while the defense has 14 INT and 12 fumble recoveries.

Houston is 28 of 46 (60.9%) in the red zone while opponents are 12 for 27 (44.5%) in the red zone in 2012.

In goal to go situations Houston is 21 for 28 (75%) and opponents are 7 for 12 (58.3%).

Texans Staff Notes

Read what Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak had to say to the New England media about the match up.

Houston head coach Gary Kubiak, is in his 7th season, he is 58-50 and 1-1 in the post season for an overall record of 59-51.

Kubiak is only the second head coach in Texans history he succeed Dom Capers who was 18-46 in the teams first four seasons.

Kubiak is 1-1 vs. New England.

He is 2-3 in Monday Night Football games.

Texans Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison began his coaching career at Suffield Academy in Suffield CT.

Texans Special Teams Coordinator Joe Marciano coached the wide receivers at The University of Rhode Island from 1978-79.

Texans Possible Starters


LT: Brown

LG: W. Smith

C: Myers

RG: B. Jones

RT: Ry. Harris

TE: Daniels

WR: Johnson

WR: Walter

QB: Schaub

RB: Foster

RB: Casey


DE: Watt

NT: Cody

DE: A. Smith

LB: Barwin

LB: Ruud

LB: Sharpton

LB: Mercilus

LCB: Jackson

RCB: McCain

S: Manning

S: Quin

Texans Players Notes

Texans QB Matt Schaub is in his 9th NFL season.  He is 43-33 with Houston and 0-2 with Atlanta for an overall record of 43-35.

Schaub was the 3rd round pick in the 2004 NFL Draft by Atlanta out of the University of Virginia.

He got hurt in Week 10 last season and missed the rest of the season including the franchise’s first two playoff games.

He was ranked in the preseason by ESPN’s Ron Jaworski as the 13th best quarterback in the NFL.

He has the best road winning percentage (.818) among NFL quarterbacks the last two seasons.

Since coming to Houston in 2007 Schaub has led the Texans on 10-game winning drives.

Schaub is 266 of 413 (64.4%) for 3062 yards, 21 TD’s and 9 INT’s and a 94.5 QB rating.

DE J.J. Watt leads the AFC with 15.5 sacks.

He holds the single season franchise sack record.

Watt leads the team with 15 passes defensed and 83 tackles (64 solo).

He is the first player in NFL history to have 15 sacks and 15 passes defensed in the same season.

Watt’s 15 passes defensed are an NFL record for a defensive lineman.

2011 team MVP LB Brian Cushing is on the IR with a torn ACL he suffered in Week 5 against the Jets.

DE Antonio Smith is called “The Ninja”.

CB Kareem Jackson leads the team with 4 INT’s.

S Danieal Manning leads the team with 3 forced fumbles.

LB Tim Dobbins has 3 fumble recoveries to lead Houston.

RB Arian Foster leads the NFL with 15 TD’s.

Foster leads the team in rushing with 1102 yards on 283 carries.

He is just the 3rd undrafted running back to have three consecutive seasons with 1,000 yards rushing.

Since 2010 Foster leads the NFL in rushing yards per game (96.1), scrimmage yards per game (129.3), most 100-yard rushing games (21) and TD's from scrimmage (45).

He has had at least 100 yards rushing in 5 of the 6 games Houston has played on the road.

He has at least 100 rushing yards in 8 of the 9 games he has played on national tv.

WR Andre Johnson has 74 catches for 1114 yards to lead the Texans.

He became the 6th fastest player in NFL history to 10,000 receiving yards.

Johnson has caught at least 1 pass in 94 consecutive games.

He has 15 games in his career with 10 catches and 100 yards that is the second highest total in NFL history behind Wes Welker who has done it 16 times.

Johnson was the AFC Offensive Player of the Month for November.

Johnson called this game “the most important game in the (10-year) history of the franchise.”

TE Phillip Supernaw’s (practice squad – IR) father is former country musician Doug Supernaw, who sang the hit songs “I Don’t Call Him Daddy” (#1 in 1993) and “Reno” (#4 in 1993).

Players listed on the injury report on Thursday.  CB Alan Ball (foot) and LB Brooks Reed (groin) did not practice.  G Antonio Caldwell (hamstring); NT Shaun Cody (ribs/back); LB Tim Dobbins (shoulder); TE Garrett Graham (concussion); LBBradie James (hamstring); CB Jonathan Joseph (hamstring/groin); T Derek Newton (knee); DE Antonio Smith (ankle) and G Wade Smith (knee/ribs) had limited participation in practice.  DE Jared Crick (neck); TE Owen Daniels (back); WR Lestar Jean (knee); LB Whitey Mercilus (hip); LB Jesse Nading (foot); WR DeVier Posey (hamstring/knee); RB Ben Tate (hamstring) and QB T.J. Yates (elbow) all had full particpation.

Houston’s captains for 2012 are (offense) C Chris Myers, WR Andre Johnson, QB Matt Schaub, (defense) LB Brian Cushing, DE Antonio Smith, DE J.J. Watt and (special teams) S Shiloh Keo, LB Tim Dobbins.

NT Terrell McClain and K Shayne Graham are former Patriots returning to Foxboro for the game.

There are 2 players on the Texans roster from Big East universities.  They are LB Connor Barwin (Cincinnati) and DT Terrell McClain (South Florida).

The Texans have no retired numbers.

Next Week

The Patriots host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro MA.  Kick off is at 8:20 p.m. on NBC.

Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveMichaelsII