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New England Patriots

Preview capsule for Patriots-Texans game

HOUSTON (11-1) At NEW ENGLAND (9-3)

8:30 p.m., ESPN

OPENING LINE – Patriots by 3½

RECORD VS. SPREAD – Houston 8-4; New England 7-5

SERIES RECORD – Patriots lead 2-1

LAST MEETING – Texans beat Patriots, 34-27, Jan. 3, 2010

LAST WEEK – Texans beat Titans, 24-10; Patriots beat Dolphins, 23-16

TEXANS OFFENSE – OVERALL (4), RUSH (6), PASS (10)

TEXANS DEFENSE – OVERALL (6), RUSH (2), PASS (19)

PATRIOTS OFFENSE – OVERALL (1), RUSH (8), PASS (6)

PATRIOTS DEFENSE – OVERALL (26), RUSH (9), PASS (29)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES – Big game for AFC postseason seeding with Texans currently first and Patriots second. … Both teams on six-game winning streaks. Two of Texans’ last three victories came in overtime. Patriots have one overtime win in that span. … Texans only unbeaten team on road, 6-0. Patriots won past 19 home games in December since 30-17 loss Dec. 22, 2002 to New York Jets. … Patriots lead NFL with plus-24 turnover differential, Texans tied for second at plus-14. … J.J. Watt leads AFC with 15½ sacks. … Arian Foster tops NFL with 15 touchdowns, first in AFC with 1,102 yards rushing. … In last game, Texans had season-high six sacks, one by Watt, and franchise-record six takeaways. … Texans banged up in secondary with nickel cornerback Brice McCain going on injured reserve this week, top CB Johnathan Joseph having missed past two games and Alan Ball having missed last game. … Texans have protected QB Matt Schaub well, allowing 15 sacks, tied for fewest in NFL with New York Giants. … Patriots have clinched AFC East and need one win for 10th straight season with at least 10 victories. San Francisco 49ers are only team to do that so far with 16 consecutive 10-win seasons from 1983-98. … Patriots 19-1 in last four games of season during past five years. … Wes Welker leads NFL with 92 receptions. With eight more catches, Welker will become first NFL player with five 100-reception seasons. … Patriots lead league with 35.8 points and 426.3 yards per game but coming off one of weakest offensive performances with 23 points and 321 yards. … Tom Brady threw just his fourth interception last Sunday and first in six games. e_SLps DE Trevor Scott had two sacks against Miami as replacement for injured Chandler Jones and suspended Jermaine Cunningham.

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