NEW ENGLAND (10-2) at HOUSTON (6-6)
Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
OPENING LINE - Patriots by 3 1/2
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RECORD VS. SPREAD - Patriots 5-5-2, Texans 6-6
SERIES RECORD - Patriots lead 5-1
LAST MEETING - Patriots beat Texans 34-31, Dec. 1, 2013
LAST WEEK - Patriots lost to Eagles 35-28; Texans lost to Bills 30-21
AP PRO32 RANKING - Patriots No. 5, Texans No. 15
PATRIOTS OFFENSE - OVERALL (3), RUSH (28), PASS (1).
PATRIOTS DEFENSE - OVERALL (13), RUSH (11), PASS (15).
TEXANS OFFENSE - OVERALL (13), RUSH (19), PASS (11).
TEXANS DEFENSE - OVERALL (7), RUSH (21), PASS (3).
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - Tom Brady is only quarterback to start for New England against Texans since they joined league in 2002. He is 5-1, including playoff victory after 2012 season. ... Brady has thrown for three or more touchdowns in six of first 11 games this year. He leads NFL with 31 TD passes and is fourth player in league history to have six or more seasons with 30 or more TD passes. ... Patriots are 52-19 in December since 2001. They have not lost twice in single December since 2002. ... Patriots have lost consecutive games for first time since 2012. They have not lost three in row since four-game losing streak from Sept. 29-Oct. 27, 2002. ... RB LeGarrette Blount (3,908) needs 92 yards rushing to reach 4,000 for career. ... TE Scott Chandler has touchdowns in three of last four games. ... DE Chandler Jones is third in the NFL with 10 1/2 sacks. ... Houston coach Bill O'Brien worked as assistant with Patriots from 2007-11. ... Houston's Brian Hoyer, former Patriot, will be fifth QB to start for Texans against New England. ... Hoyer has thrown two or more TD passes in seven of last eight games. ... DT Vince Wilfork joined Texans after spending first 11 years of NFL career with Patriots. ... RB Chris Polk led Houston with career-high 61 yards rushing last week. ... In past three games WR Cecil Shorts has 21 yards passing, 47 yards rushing, 160 yards receiving and has one TD reception and has thrown TD pass. ... TE Ryan Griffin has TD catch in last two games. ... DE J.J. Watt leads NFL with 13 1/2 sacks. ... OLB Whitney Mercilus has 6 1/2 sacks in last seven games. ... 2014 top overall pick OLB Jadeveon Clowney has at least half-sack in three of last five games. ... Fantasy Tip: WR DeAndre Hopkins could be must starter after grabbing at least one TD pass in four of last five games and ranking third in NFL with 1,169 yards receiving.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL