Coming Up
  • Sat., Aug. 02, 2014 12:00 AM - 11:15 PM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to the "Best of the Week" in Patriots.com Radio programming.
  • Mon., Aug. 04, 2014 9:00 AM - 11:59 PM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to a replay of Tuesday's edition of PFW in Progress.
  • Tue., Aug. 05, 2014 2:00 PM - 11:59 PM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to a replay of today's lineups on Patriots.com Radio.
  • Tue., Aug. 05, 2014 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM EDT Live Fantasy Football Champs 120 minutes of non-stop Fantasy Football Strategy. Todd DeVries and Bill Enright are committed to helping you dominate your league. Tune in for expert analysis, weekly player rankings, and fantasy advice that will get you a Championship.
  • Wed., Aug. 06, 2014 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to the "Best of the Week" of Patriots.com Radio programming.
  • Thu., Aug. 07, 2014 12:00 AM - 11:55 AM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to the "Best of the Week" of Patriots.com Radio programming.
  • Thu., Aug. 07, 2014 11:55 AM - 2:00 PM EDT Live PFW in Progress Have lunch with Editor in Chief Fred Kirsch along with editor Paul Perillo, assistant editor Andy Hart and staff writer Erik Scalavino as they take you behind the pages of PFW on their online radio show exclusively on Patriots.com. Send in your questions and comments to webradio@patriots.com or call (508) 298-0398.
  • Thu., Aug. 07, 2014 2:00 PM - 11:59 PM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to the "Best of the Week" of Patriots.com Radio programming.
  • Thu., Aug. 07, 2014 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM EDT Live Football Nation A dynamic and entertaining two hours of hardcore NFL coverage. Todd DeVries and Bill Enright highlight the latest story-lines from around the league, breakdown the current standings, and preview the upcoming slate of games.
  • Fri., Aug. 08, 2014 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to replays of the best Patriots.com radio shows of the week
  • Sat., Aug. 09, 2014 12:00 AM - 11:15 PM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to the "Best of the Week" in Patriots.com Radio programming.
  • Mon., Aug. 11, 2014 9:00 AM - 11:59 PM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to a replay of Tuesday's edition of PFW in Progress.
  • Tue., Aug. 12, 2014 2:00 PM - 11:59 PM EDT Replay Patriots Replay Listen to a replay of today's lineups on Patriots.com Radio.

News

Print
RSS

Samsonite Make Your Case: The heat is on

Posted Jan 11, 2013

Aside from Tom Brady, which group has to perform in order for the Patriots to beat the Texans? Weigh in with a vote in this week's Samsonite Make Your Case poll.

The Patriots routed the Houston Texans, 42-14, a little more than a month ago. So what will make Sunday's meeting in the divisional round of the playoffs any different? Well, for starters the Patriots can count on a better overall effort from the visitors this time around.

Assuming that is the case, the Patriots will need to be at their best in order to advance to the AFC title game. There are a variety of areas that could be keys to a potential victory. Obviously, Tom Brady playing at his normal high level would appear to be one – but he's vital to the team's success every week so we're not including him in this exercise.

Otherwise, which area of the Patriots do you feel is most important to victory?



PFW's Andy Hart says ...

The secondary


The only chance the Texans have of riding into Foxborough and pulling off the upset is if Matt Schaub can make his fair share of plays in the passing game. Houston's strengths – defense and Arian Foster – are good enough to where they're expected to contribute. But Schaub needs to prove he can make plays down the field, continue drives on third down and put the ball in the end zone, which he didn't do in his first-career playoff win last weekend against the Bengals.

As such, it will be up to New England's much-maligned defensive backfield to keep that from happening. First, Aqib Talib and Alfonzo Dennard need to prove themselves healthy enough to return to action at corner. That will allow Devin McCourty to bump back to safety and bring the communication and stability he's brought to that spot. As a group they must keep Andre Johnson from making plays and getting down the field, and must keep Owen Daniels from extending drives in the middle of the field.

San Francisco came into Gillette Stadium with a similar reputation as the Texans, but unlike Houston the 49ers were able to play confidently in the passing game, get the ball over the top and into the end zone and take it to Tom Brady and the Patriots. It's up to the back end of the New England pass defense to ensure that Schaub doesn't make a name for himself at that group's expense. Coral the Texans passing attack and the next stop for the Patriots will be the AFC title game.
--AH



PFW's Paul Perillo says ...

The offensive line


Whenever the Patriots struggle to win games – whether it's in the regular season or the playoffs – usually it's because Tom Brady doesn't get a chance to get comfortable in the pocket. Obviously, in order for Brady to get comfortable he has to receive solid pass protection from his five big friends up front.

The offensive line has done a great job of keeping things together this season. It's a group that underwent significant change entering the season with long-time starters Matt Light (retired) and Dan Koppen (released) removed from the equation. Injuries were also a constant factor with Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly and Sebastian Vollmer all missing games at various points.

Yet, through it all Brady was protected well for the most part, and it won't be easy to keep that going against the Texans. J.J. Watt is just one of many players Houston has that could make life miserable on the Patriots offense. Brooks Reed, Connor Barwin, Antonio Smith and Whitney Mercilus all are capable of getting to the quarterback.

If the Patriots offensive line performs well, the offense will put points on the board, and that will lead to victory.
-PP

Now it's the fans turn to cast their vote in this week's Samsonite Make Your Case poll question.



Click here to vote on a mobile device.