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Texans Notebook: Bill O'Brien Knows the Texans Have To Play Perfect in the Divisional Round

Tom Brady does not expect a letdown on Saturday and Bill O'Brien knows the Houston Texans have to play flawless.

Bill O’Brien Knows his Team has to be Flawless

The New England Patriots are stout in the playoffs with the 3rd rank offense and the 1st ranked defense in points per game. The Texans are going to have to go to Foxborough and show they can handle the pressure and environment at Gillette Stadium. 

The Patriots last loss at home in the playoffs came against the Baltimore Ravens in 2012 in the AFC championship game. Their last divisional round loss was in 2010 against the New York Jets. The room for error is extremely tight for the Texans. 

O’Brien knows what his team is up against on Saturday. 

"The thing about the Patriots is that they’re a very fundamentally sound team. You’re going to have to go in there and beat them – they’re not going to beat themselves. They’re not going to jump offsides, they’re going to take care of the ball, they don’t beat themselves,” O’Brien stated. 

“So I think that’s more the key than it is all the exotics that you can draw up to try to do this or do that. You have to go in there and you have to play good, smart, tough, disciplined football, and you have to play every play,” said O’Brien of playing against the Patriots. “Every single play in the playoffs is a very, very important play. Everybody has just got to go in there and do their job at the highest level. That’s a difficult task against the Patriots, but that’s what we’re talking about.”

Tom Brady and a Let Down? You Wish

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Tom Brady is as good as they come and with the Texans a complete underdog, he is not worried about the Patriots and how they will handle expectations on Saturday night. 

Brady has been on rampage since he returned from his suspension in week five, throwing for 28 touchdowns to only 2 interceptions. Brady’s preparation is unmatched and he is not interested in anything but the Patriots handling their business. 

“I view it as the biggest game that we’ve played all season against the best defense that we’ve played all season. I don’t see any letdown from us. That’s ridiculous to think that. I’m preparing like this is the hardest game we’ve faced all season, which it will be, and it means the most,” explained Brady to the Houston media. 

“There’s only one priority for all of us this week, and that’s to be at our best mentally, physically, emotionally for three hours on Saturday night starting at 8:00 p.m,” Brady continued. “All of my attention is focused on those three hours and getting prepared for that moment so that we can go out and play with anticipation and confidence against the best defense we’ve played all season. There’s nothing easy about it.”

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Brock or Bust 

If the Texans are able to pull out this win against the Patriots, there is going to have to be a big game delivered from Brock Osweiler Already benched earlier this season, Osweiler has been put back into the lineup, looking a little more calm and relaxed with his role in the offense. 

Over the past two games since coming back to take control of the offense, Osweiler has gone 35 for 65 (53.8%) throwing for 421 yards with 2 passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown plus no interceptions. The positive gains he has made are being overlooked but he is going to have to put together the best game of his career on Saturday. 

 “We emphasize that we can’t give the opponent any extra opportunities, can’t give them a short field, can’t give them anything where they can get momentum. He understands that,” said offensive coordinator George Godsey of Osweiler. “If the route isn’t open, he’s been able to tuck it and run, get a first down that way, and that’s how we play. We play team football and if it’s not there we’re moving on to the next series if it may be, but protecting the ball is the number one key to every game, especially at that position.”

O’Brien has confidence in Osweiler to prepare accordingly for the top scoring defense in the NFL. 

“Oh yeah, he’s very prepared. He works very hard at his preparation. He’s got the film at home, he’s got his iPad with him everywhere he goes,” said O’Brien of Osweiler. “He’s very prepared, we had a good practice today. Everybody is excited about the challenge. We know it’s challenging, but we’re all excited for it.”

“I think having confidence and believing in yourself and your teammates is huge in any game. This game is no different. If we are going to be able to go up to New England, a place that is very difficult to win in. They have a great home-field advantage,” explained Brock Osweiler of the Texans heading to New England. 

Osweiler knows the play on the field starts with the mental aspect and getting that handled is the biggest key on Saturday. 

"It starts with believing and developing confidence and that starts in practice. It’s up to each and every individual to prepare themselves not only physically on this football team, but mentally.” Osweiler said. “I think that’s just as important.”

Game Notes

NFL Communications.
  • This is the second postseason meeting between the two teams. In the 2012 Divisional Playoffs (January 13, 2013), the Patriots defeated the Texans 41-28 at Gillette Stadium.
  • New England has won seven of the eight all-time meetings, including the playoffs. The Patriots are 4-0 at home against the Texans, including a 27-0 victory in Week 3 (September 22, 2016).  
  • Houston advanced to the Divisional round with a 27-14 win over Oakland last week. The Texans, who led the NFL in total defense (301.3 yards per game) during the regular season, limited the Raiders to 203 total net yards.
  • Houston linebacker Whitney Mercilus had two sacks and three tackles for a loss in last week’s victory. He has five sacks and six tackles for a loss in his past two playoff games.
  • Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowny, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl, had an interception last week to set up a touchdown in his first career playoff game. 
  • New England won its eighth consecutive division title, the longest streak in NFL history. The Patriots are the only team in NFL history to win 13 division titles in a 14-year span.
  • New England quarterback Tom Brady has 22 career playoff wins, the most in NFL history. Brady is also the NFL postseason leader in career completions (738), attempts (1,183), passing yards (7,957) and touchdown passes (56).
  • The Patriots had four players selected to the Pro Bowl: quarterback Brady (12th), linebacker Donat’a Hightower (first), safety Devin McCourty (third) and special teamer Matt Slater (sixth). 

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