AP NEWS

Houston Texans @ New England Patriots

January 11, 2017 GMT

Bing Predicts winner: Patriots (83 percent)Opening line: NE -16Kickoff time: 8:15 p.m. EST (Saturday)Though fans and NFL Twitter love to make jokes at his expense, Brock Osweiler actually had a solid game in Houston’s 27-14 win over Oakland. He completed 14 of 25 pass attempts for 168 yards and a touchdown, didn’t turn the ball over and also rushed for a score in the fourth quarter. Osweiler’s passer rating for the day was 90.1, his best since Week 13 and his third-highest of the season. If Osweiler can duplicate that performance and the Texans’ offense leans on Lamar Miller, Houston can hang around in this game.But there is little reason to believe the Texans can actually pull off the upset. With Tom Brady under center this season, New England has averaged 30 points per game and 31.2 at home. It doesn’t feel within the realm of possibility that Houston’s offense can keep pace with Brady and the bunch, even if the Pats are somehow off their game.In these teams’ Week 3 matchup (which Brady sat out due to suspension), Osweiler was awful, completing 24 of 41 passes for just 196 yards and an interception in a 27-0 blowout. That was a long time ago, but you have to believe Bill Belichick will devise a defensive game plan that’s set up to make Osweiler make plays throwing the ball downfield. If the game unfolds like that, there’s little to no chance of Houston keeping it close. Vegas tabbed New England as the biggest favorite in a playoff game in nearly 20 years, and with good reason. Osweiler proved capable of competency in the postseason last week, but don’t count on lightning striking twice.

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