It’s never OK to overlook an opponent, so the Houston Texans waited until their Wildcard Round Playoff game was over before firing the first salvo in the propaganda war leading up to their rematch with the New England Patriots.
Houston took care of their business with an uninspiring 19-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at Reliant Stadium on Saturday night – and as the #3 seed in the AFC, they were guaranteed their grudge match with New England with the victory.
The Texans could be excused for sincerely wanting a rematch with the team that dragged them behind the woodshed five weeks ago for a whuppin’ that they have not forgotten – a point that Running Back Arian Foster so eloquently stated via his twitter account immediately after the game:
“We owe them one”
One can be sure that the Patriots are under orders from Head Coach Bill Belichick to not fire until they see the whites of their eyes, which means that they are to do their talking on the field.
The Texans will get their chance for redemption next Sunday in the cold and wind of Foxboro, where a seasoned Tom Brady leads as prolific an offense as there is in the game, and has Tight End Rob Gronkowski back from a broken arm that caused him to miss the 42-14 shellacking of the Texans five weeks ago.
“They know what they’re doing in the playoffs,” said Texans’ defensive lineman J.J. Watt. “They’ve been here many times before. They know what it takes, so it’s going to take everything we have and we’re really excited about the challenge.”
Foster doesn’t put to much stock in boning up on intelligence from their last meeting, as the teams have evolved in different directions since then.
“They’re a new team, we’re a new team,” Foster said. “Anytime you play a team twice in a season … you have to attack it differently. It’s a different mentality. Different things are at stake.”
Yes, bigger things are at stake – like a spot in the AFC Championship Game on January 20th. And to get there they have to play much better than they did against the Bengals, though, obviously, they will take the win, sloppy as it was.
“It’s one step,” Watt said of the win. “We know what it means, and we have bigger goals than that.”
And so do the Patriots, who still have that woodshed that they like dragging folks behind to teach them a lesson – except now it’s cold, which makes the beating hurt just a little bit more.