It's December. The New England Patriots are peaking on both sides of the ball. Welcome to the last decade.
The Texans suddenly need to win next week against the Indianapolis Colts or they will have to worry about losing the AFC South. The Patriots, at 10-3, now have a chance to steal the No. 1 seed if the Texans slip up one more time down the stretch. More importantly, New England served notice that its defense no longer is a sieve.
The Patriots lead the NFL in forcing turnovers, and they picked off Texans quarterback Matt Schaub early to help build a quick 21-0 lead. A remade secondary looks much better with Devin McCourty at safety, seventh-round draft pick Alfonzo Dennard battling at cornerback and free-agent pickup Aqib Talib on the other side (he hurt his hip in the game, though). Coach Bill Belichick is mixing in more creative blitzes on passing downs, and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork had one of his trademark big games in a big game Monday.