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Patriots overcome another big deficit to defeat Texans

For the second consecutive week, the New England Patriots went into the tunnel at the half facing a double-digit deficit. And again, the Patriots came out with a victory to remain in the hunt for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

On NFL Network
NFL Replay
will re-air the New England Patriots' 34-31 win over the Houston Texans from Week 13 on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. ET.

Here's what we learned in the Patriots' 34-31 win over the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium:

  1. The Patriots got away with another poor start. They have been outscored 41-7 in the first half the past two weeks. The comebacks are surely impressive, but not particularly encouraging for long-term success. You can assume a faster start will be a point of emphasis for coach Bill Belichick this week.
  1. The Texans' struggles on offense have killed them all season, but put this loss on the defense. When quarterback Case Keenum and company put up 31 points in your building, you need to find a way to take it home. Here's a reason why defensive end J.J. Watt shouldn't be seen as a runaway favorite for the Defensive Player of the Year award.

  1. As expected, the return of Rob Gronkowski has made all the difference for the Patriots' offense. The tight end had another huge impact game, scoring one touchdown for the fourth consecutive week. Tom Brady has been a different quarterback with his best weapon on the field. Funny how that works.
  1. Sneaky team MVP pick for the Patriots this season? How about kicker Stephen Gostkowski? The veteran drilled two 53-yard field goals in the fourth quarter -- one to tie the game and one to put the Pats ahead for good. He's now 28 of 30 on the season. How blessed have the Patriots been to have Vinatieri and Gostkowski back to back?

  1. Another 100-yard day for Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, who has been quarterback Tom Brady's most reliable target for 13 weeks. Edelman has stepped up for an offense in transition this season.

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