Texans at Patriots: Miracle at Foxborough?

The New England Patriots are revving up for a seventh Super Bowl appearance in the Bill Belichick era. The Houston Texans aim for a massive upset.

Nobody believes in the Texans. They are 9-7, barely winning the NFL’s worst division. Houston has never won a road playoff game in franchise history, and this current team is without a single important player who has seen a postseason win other than Saturday’s 27-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders.

In related news, Connor Cook isn’t Tom Brady.

Houston is ranging from a 15 to 16-point underdog, one of the largest spreads since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. It’s not unwarranted. The Texans lost 27-0 to the Patriots back in Week 3, when J.J. Watt was on the field and Brady was not. In fact, it was third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett who won his first NFL start, as New England rolled to victory.

The Texans are seen as a mere formality in this game. Anybody stating otherwise is either a homer or looking for a jolt in the ratings. Houston is wildly outmatched against the best team football has since the 1980s San Francisco 49ers, and perhaps even further back than that. New England is a juggernaut that rarely loses and is almost never upset by such an inferior team.

All of that makes this game oddly intriguing. Can Houston become the next member of a club populated by the 1996 Jaguars and 1987 Vikings? Or, do the Patriots crush the Texans as so many expect in their next step toward Super Bowl LI?