PATRIOTS(10-5) atTEXANS* (8-7)
*Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010 - Reliant Stadium (71,054)
1:00 p.m. EDT
The 2009 AFC East Champion New England Patriots will close out their regularseason schedule when they travel to Houston to face the Texans. New England clinched its ninth AFC East Divisional Championship since 1994 and its 12th overall division championship with a 35-7 win over Jacksonville last week. It is also the Patriots' seventh division title this decade.
TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast to a regional audience by CBS and can be seen in Boston on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Kevin Harlan will handle playby- play duties with Solomon Wilcots providing color.
RADIO: 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 36 stations can be foundhere. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 33rd season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. Santos and Cappelletti are celebrating their 26th season as a tandem.
The Patriots and Texans will meet for the third time since Houston entered the NFL in 2002. The Patriots are 2-0 against the Texans. This week's game will mark New England's second trip to Houston to face the Texans. The teams met in Houston on the Sunday before Thanksgiving in 2003, and the Patriots claimed a 23-20 overtime victory in their first of two trips to Reliant Stadium that season (the other was for Super Bowl XXXVIII). Before the Texans joined the league, the Patriots and the Houston Oilers were old foes dating back to the days of the American Football League, playing twice a year from 1960-69 and 33 times overall before the Oilers moved to Tennessee following the 1996 season.
The Patriots have an all-time record of 76-46-1 (.622) against the teams that make up the AFC South. It is the only division in the NFL where the Patriots own a winning record against each team. New England owns winning marks against Tennessee (22-16-1), Indianapolis (44-29), Jacksonville (8-1) and Houston (2-0).
- Texans injured safety Eugene Wilson played for the Patriots from 2003-07.
- Houston WR Andre Davis played for the Patriots in 2005. In 2006, Davis played for the Buffalo Bills with Patriots WR/special teamer Sam Aiken.
- Patriots CB Leigh Bodden (2003-07), Texans WR Andre Davis (2002-04), LB Kevin Bentley (2002-04) injured LB Chaun Thompson (2003-07) and S Brian Russell (2005- 06) all played for the Cleveland Browns.
- Russell and Patriots WR Randy Moss played for the Minnesota Vikings from 2002-04.
- Bodden was also teammates with Texans DT Shaun Cody on the Detroit Lions in 2008.
- Patriots RB Laurence Maroney and Texans S Dominique Barber were teammates at Minnesota from 2004-05.
- Patriots TE Chris Baker shared tight end duties on the New York Jets with Texan Joel Dreesen in 2005.
- Baker was also teammates on the Jets in 2002 with Texans S Nick Ferguson.
- Patriots WR/QB Isaiah Stanback and Texans CB Jacques Reeves were Dallas Cowboys in 2007.
- Patriots WR/special teamer Sam Aiken played on the Buffalo Bills with Texans G Tutan Reyes in 2006. Reyes was then on the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2007-08 with Patriots RB Fred Taylor.
- Texans P Matt Turk and DT Jeff Zgonina played on the Miami Dlophins with Patriots P Chris Hanson (2000) and TE Chris Baker on the New York Jets (2002).
TOM BRADY VS. HOUSTON
Tom Brady will make his third career start against Houston. He compiled one of the highest yardage totals of his career in his first start against the Texans.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS - 2009 AFC EAST CHAMPIONS
The Patriots won the AFC East Championship with the victory over Jacksonville last Sunday. New England has now qualified for the playoffs 17 times in its 50-year history. The Patriots have earned 11 playoff berths in the 16 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, a dramatic contrast to the six total playoff berths that the team earned in its first 34 years of existence. New England has won 12 division crowns and has qualified as a Wild Card team on four occasions (1998, 1994, 1985 and 1976). The Patriots also qualified for the playoffs in 1982 as part of a 16- team tournament following a players' strike.
New England will host a playoff game during the weekend of Jan. 9-10. While Indianapolis has clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and San Diego has clinched a first-round bye, Cincinnati and the Patriots will face one of the seven teams that are still alive in the AFC wild card race (Denver, NY Jets, Baltimore, Houston, Pittsburgh, Miami or Jacksonville). If the Patriots defeat the Texans on Sunday and the Cincinnati Bengals lose on the road to the New York Jets, New England will claim the third seed in the AFC playoffs and will host the AFC's sixth seed in the first round. If the Patriots and Bengals are tied, then the tie breaker will come down to strength of victory to determine the third seed.
The Patriots are the only team in the NFL to have recorded nine or more wins in each of the last nine seasons. The Patriots won their 10th game of the season last Sunday against Jacksonville and have now won 10 or more games eight times in the last nine seasons.