Quick Take: Patriots/Texans

In Brief

» Last meeting: The Patriots picked off David Carr four times in a 40-7 Week 15 victory during the 2006 season.
» Streaks: New England has won the only two meetings.
» Last week: Jacksonville was run out of Gillette Stadium as New England won 35-7. ... Houston kept its slim postseason hopes alive with a 27-20 win at Miami.

Keep your eye on ...Mario Williams' pass rush: The Texans face a Patriots team that has already locked up a playoff spot, and does not have much to play for at this point. Williams' ability to apply constant pressure on Tom Brady and hit him hard a few times early might convince the Patriots to plant their star quarterback on the bench, thus improving Houston's chances to win.

Matt Schaub's effectiveness: Though New England ranks an impressive eighth in overall defense, it has struggled some against elite passing teams. The top-ranked Colts passing attack and the third-ranked Saints each torched the Patriots, and the Texans are sandwiched between those two units with the second overall pass ranking. Schaub will challenge New England's young secondary early and often.

Wes Welker's statistical output: The Patriots' Pro Bowl receiver leads the league with 122 catches this year, and this despite the fact he missed two games due to injury. With a few more receptions, he can extend the team record he established this season.

Did you know?

The Patriots have a chance to win 11 games in a season for the seventh time this decade. ... New England's Tom Brady needs two TD passes to reach 30 for the second time in his career. ... The Texans can secure the first winning season in franchise history with a victory. ... Houston's Matt Schaub leads the league in passing yards with 4,467.

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