Thank you Houston! With their second consecutive loss, the Houston Texans opened up the door for the Patriots to walk into the second seed in the AFC. All they had to do was take care of Miami and the spot was as good as theirs. Well, they did their part and squished the fish with a final score of 28-0. Now the playoff picture is clear and all the Patriots have to do is focus on getting healthy.


The Patriots locked up the bye which means Aqib Talib and the rest of the banged up Pats have an extra week to heal. (FILE:USPresswire)

As for Houston, the team once praised as the best in the AFC has hit a stopping point as the regular season has drawn to a close. This week they lost to a fired up Indianapolis Colts team 28-16 and last week they took a beat down from the Minnesota Vikings 23-6. In the second half of the season they’ve gone 5-3 with two of their wins coming in overtime. Matt Schaub has thrown 10 interceptions in the past eight games after having only thrown four in the first half of the season. This team seems to be on the downward trend which is not where you want to be come playoffs.

The Patriots on the other hand seem to be on the right path once again. Against Miami, the Patriots finally came out with some spirit and got on the offensive early. They dominated the first half and were able to skate by with a lackluster third quarter and returned the “Gronk spike” to Foxboro in the fourth with a Rob Gronkowski touchdown. The front seven looked like it was playing as one cohesive unit and the secondary did their job to allow for several coverage sacks. In all the defense sacked Ryan Tannehill seven times for a total loss of 26 yards. The competition wasn’t fierce offensively but it was good for this unit to build some rhythm and have success especially with the bye next week.

Houston gave the Pats next week off and now they can also help put them in the best position to win their first playoff game. The Denver Broncos are raging hot and it is most likely that the AFC Championship will go through Mile High City. But before we get there, the divisional round needs to be won. What the Texans can do for the Patriots this week is take care of the Cincinnati Bengals. The AFC North is a strong division and the Benglas have one of the better defenses in the league. They would be a tough matchup for a Patriots team that has seemed to have a little trouble getting into the endzone lately. Especially considering their physical style of play, the ideal situation would be for the Texans to come back to Foxboro.

While the cards do not lie solely in the hands of the Texans, they still play a valuable role in the Patriots’ playoff success. All the Patriots need is for Andrew Luck and the Colts to carry on #chuckstrong and beat the Ravens and the Texans to get back on track against the Bengals. But even if it doesn’t work out as planned, by the time their first game comes around, this team will be healthy and ready for whoever shows up at their door.