The Patriots and Texans will do battle Saturday night in Foxborough with the winner earning a spot in the AFC Championship Game. Although the stakes are high, there will be at least one Patriot who is simply happy to be on the field for a playoff game.
The Boston Globe says the Texans have evolved since they were blanked in Foxborough in Week 3. The Globe also takes a ride with All-Pro special teamer Matthew Slater. CSNNE.com says Trey Flowers has emerged into a rare talent.
The Boston Herald looks at Dont'a Hightower and how the linebacker is proving his value to the Patriots. They also offer a look at the matchup between Texans running back Lamar Miller and the Patriots defensive front. With Danny Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell on the mend, WEEI.com says the Patriots could have five receivers dressed this weekend.
Bill Belichick explained why he watched the national championship game so closely. ESPNBoston.com also had Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia saluting Belichick for his help in their development as they interview for head coaching jobs. The Globe's notebook also addressed the assistants' interviews.
The Boston Herald says NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell can't hide from Patriots fans forever.
In Houston, Bill O'Brien claims he won't be using the massive 17-point spread as motivation for his team this week. Also, ESPN.com has quarterback Tom Savage working his way out of concussion protocol, meaning he would potentially be available this week if O'Brien wants to use him instead of Brock Osweiler.
The Houston Chronicle says the Texans aren't thinking about their previous meetings with the Patriots. If Houston is to fare better this time around it must improve its run defense.