Home » Blog » AFC: Patriots in rematch versus Houston

AFC: Patriots in rematch versus Houston

A great regular season does not guarantee the New England Patriots success during the postseason. A month ago, the Houston Texans visited New England as the holder of the best record in the AFC. Four quarters later the Texans went home with a humbling loss 42-14, and proceeded to lose two of their last three regular season games to lose the top seed in the playoffs and had to play on wildcard weekend.

This Sunday the Texans, thanks to their 19-13 win last week over Cincinnati, will return to New England to face the Patriots, but this time it is in a divisional playoff matchup with the winner moving on to the AFC Championship.

Both teams have said that last month’s game does not mean anything now. Even Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick said that previous games do not mean anything.

Since the 1970 merger of the AFL and NFL the Patriots have played in the playoffs 19 times and in 18 of those 19 playoffs, since 1976, New England has faced one or more teams in the playoffs that they played that same season during the regular season. The only time in 19 appearances that did not happen was in 1998. That year the Patriots lost a wildcard game against Jacksonville, who they did not play during the regular season.

New England has qualified for postseason play under Belichick in 10 of the last 12 seasons. During those 10 playoffs, the Patriots played in 14 games that were rematches against teams they had faced in the regular season. This weekend’s matchup against Houston makes 15.

The Patriots under Belichick are 8-6 in their 14 rematches during the playoffs. One of those wins was a 20-17 win against St. Louis in the Super Bowl, which atoned for a regular season loss to the Rams 24-17.

As of late, the numbers for rematch games for New England have not been kind. The Patriots are 1-4 in their past five rematch games during the playoffs. The only win in those five games was last season’s rout of the Denver Broncos 45-10. The Patriots had won 41-23 earlier in the season at Denver.

Of the four losses, two of them were against the New York Giants in Super Bowls. The Patriots lost last season’s Super Bowl and five seasons ago to the Giants after facing them during the regular season. The two other losses were to Baltimore and the New York Jets.

The Patriots will be hard pressed to match the numbers they put up against Houston in the game a month ago. New England scored 42 points and had over 419 yards of offense. In the four losses during the playoffs in the last five seasons, the Patriots scored more and gained more yards in the regular season games than they did in the playoff losses.

That implies that teams made better adjustments against the Patriots than the Patriots did against them. If New England can win Sunday, they will face a team they played already this season, as the other two teams playing division playoff game this weekend are Denver and Baltimore.

The Patriots lost to Baltimore in September and defeated Denver in October.

In addition, if the Patriots were to make it to the Super Bowl, two teams they could face San Francisco and Seattle have already beaten them this season.

  • 100%