Four weeks ago the New England Patriots demolished the Houston Texans 42-14 which began a tailspin for the Texans and helped the Patriots earn the AFC’s second seed. On Sunday afternoon these two teams will face off again with a trip to the AFC championship game on the line. For a younger team with less experience that first win could be detrimental but the veteran leadership for the Patriots will help them this weekend.
Young teams often gain a false sense of security following a big win over a team like the Texans. They feel like since they beat the opponent so easily the first time, the next time will be just as easy. But that’s never the case in the NFL. When a team gets embarrassed as the Texans did four weeks ago, they come back looking for revenge. That’s exactly the mindset Houston will have when they stroll into Foxborough on Sunday afternoon.
This won’t be a problem for the Patriots though. The Patriots have great leadership in their organization from owner Robert Kraft all the way down the line. That’s what will help them succeed in Sunday’s matchup against the dangerous Texans.
In 2007 the Patriots were undefeated heading into the Super Bowl with a chance to be the first team to ever go 19-0. After defeating the Giants once already at the end of the regular season, the Patriots lost Super Bowl XLII to the New York Giants when Eli Manning led the NFC champions on a late dive to beat the Patriots 17-14. While painful, this experience will be a key this weekend in understanding that the Texans will come back stronger.
There are still several members from that 2007 team on these Patriots. Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels, Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Logan Mankins, and Dan Connolly were all apart of that offense in 2007 and will be playing a part Sunday. And while not on the Patriots in 2007, Deion Branch was on the Patriots from 2002 to 2005 and understands being on the top with opposition looking to knock you down as he was a key member of three Super Bowls in four years.
Four weeks ago the Patriots played the11-1 Texans, who thought they could beat anyone with relative ease, off the field. On Sunday the Texans return for an AFC divisional playoff showdown looking for revenge. This could cause problems for a young team as they might have a false sense of security playing a team they’ve already handled but the veteran leadership of the Patriots won’t let that happen. That may be one of their biggest advantaged this weekend.