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Andre Johnson: Patriots tilt biggest in Texans history

The Houston Texans have rolled through the regular season and are one of two one-loss teams in the NFL. Still, many don't consider them the AFC favorites. The New England Patriots and Denver Broncos are getting a lot of that love.

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The Texans have the chance to prove naysayers wrong Monday night with a road trip to Foxborough, Mass.

Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson summed up the magnitude of the game.

"You know how big it is?" Johnson told the Houston Chronicle. "The biggest game in the history of this franchise. As long as we keep winning, every game is going to get bigger and bigger.

"When you've been somewhere you've never been, everything gets bigger."

It's hard to say a regular-season game against the Patriots is the biggest in franchise history when the Texans have all but locked up a top-two playoff seed. The stakes are fairly low. The Texans did make the playoffs for the first time in 2011 and advanced to the divisional round. But we see what Johnson trying to say. And he should know, considering he has been with the franchise for 10 of its 11 years in existence.

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The Texans still are fighting for respect as newcomers to the upper echelon of NFL franchises. They have to beat the Patriots and Steelers and Packers of the world to be fully considered on that level.

And don't think Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and crew don't want to send a little message of their own about who's still the class of the National Football League.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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