AFC Divisional Playoffs: Patriots and Texans in Slugfest at the Half

By Curt Popejoy
AFC Playoffs
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Halftime has come to the AFC Divisional Playoff game pairing up the New England Patriots and the Houston Texans. And just as we all expected, this game has been back and forth with both teams trading shots.

In the first quarter, both teams were a little sluggish on offense. The Patriots had a couple of injuries, but like the champions they are, they just re-loaded with new players and in the 2nd quarter began to impose their will on a Texans defense that other than defensive end J.J. Watt seem to be more than a little over matched. However, the Texans punched back with a late touchdown and refuse to fall. What that means is while the Texans trail 17-13 at the half, they have a lot of confidence going into halftime.

For the Texans, head coach Gary Kubiak doesn’t seem to know what he wants to do on offense. At some points he appears very aggressive in his play-calling and having some success, but then he dials it back, gets conservative, and the Patriots defense stiffens and they are forced to punt. In fact, other than the opening kickoff return,  Texans fans haven’t had a whole lot to cheer.

Fortunately those final 2 scoring drives seem to have ignited the team and hopefully that will carry over into the second half. For New England, they are are just tossing it all over the field and letting players run with the football. Doesn’t matter who is in the jersey, they just make plays. I’m not sure any defense matches up well with them, but the Texans in particular look like they cannot. Adjustments must be made.

In the second half the Texans are going to have to first, keep pushing the football down the field. They’ve shown that they can win those one on ones, so why not keep doing it? Forcing running back Arian Foster in the waiting arms of a Patriots defense isn’t working. So use the pass and set up the quick hitting run plays instead. For the Patriots they just need to keep being the Patriots. 5 weapons in the pattern every play and let quarterback Tom Brady pick his spots. The Texans have to find a way to pressure Brady without blitzing, because when they don’t get there, Brady is making them pay.

Can the Texans maintain their momentum and complete the comeback and go to the conference championship or will Brady and the Patriots prove to be too much for them? One thing I know for sure, the Texans can’t win if they think they can trade scores with the Patriots. They are going to have to get some defensive stops and give their offense a break in the 2nd half.



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