New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick pauses during a news conference before NFL football practice in Foxborough, Mass., Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013. The Patriots don't know who they'll face in their playoff opener. But, they do know plenty about that team. They are familiar with all three potential opponents, the Texans, Ravens and Colts, having played them already this season.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)The Associated Press
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A regular-season rout can be a poor predictor of the postseason rematch.
Coach Bill Belichick can remind his New England Patriots of that less than a month after their 42-14 romp that shoved the Houston Texans into their late-season plunge.
The stakes will be much higher when the Texans return Sunday to Gillette Stadium. The winner in the divisional-round game goes to the AFC championship game.
Belichick said Sunday the first meeting has little to do with the next one. He learned on Saturday night who the Patriots would be facing when the Texans beat the Cincinnati Bengals 19-13 in a wild-card game. Had the Texans lost, the Patriots would have played the Baltimore Ravens, who beat the Indianapolis Colts 24-9 on Sunday.
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