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News Blitz 1/9: Texans on deck

The schedule might indicate the playoffs are here but Las Vegas doesn't seem too concerned with that formality. The wise guys have enlisted the Patriots as 16-point favorites over the Houston Texans in their upcoming divisional round playoff game Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.

According to ESPN.com, that puts New England among the biggest playoff favorites over the past 40 years.

The Patriots already trounced Houston once this season, a 27-0 whitewash that wasn't even that close and featured rookie third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett at the helm for New England. ESPNBoston.com has some more bad news for the Texans, writing that the Patriots team that overwhelmed Houston that night has improved dramatically since then.

The Boston Globe says it time to kick yet another tomato can in the playoffs.

Despite all of that, Tom Brady isn't taking anything for granted, saying there's nothing easy about facing Houston. The Globe offers some ways the Texans can pull off the upset while acknowledging it's not going to happen.

The Globe adds a piece on Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who has been instrumental to the team's success in his first season back out of retirement.

The Boston Herald says it was the perfect wild card weekend for the Patriots while adding three reasons why New England should rout the overmatched Texans. The Providence Journal agrees, explaining that the Texans will not be able to outgun these Patriots.

The Houston Chronicle provides some information learned from the first meeting between the teams. Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye is one of the more underrated performers in the league.

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