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Former New England Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson, who currently covers the Texans for KILT in Houston, joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Felger and Massarotti on Monday to preview the Patriots-Texans showdown at Gillette.
At 11-1, are the Texans legit? They’ve had only one loss this year, but needed comebacks against the lowly Jaguars and Lions.
“They’ll feel validated, legitimized if they win this game,” Johnson said of the Texans. “The only stinker they had this year was against Green Bay; a high-powered offense with an elite quarterback. They got down early and never had a chance. Now, they’re going against the Patriots who have a very similar kind of thing (as the Packers).”
But Johnson added that after that poor showing against Green Bay, the Texans bounced back with a pair of strong performances against the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears, beating both teams at their own game.
“They’re a very confident team,” he said of the Texans. “You don’t see panic in this team when things do get tough. They’re front runners now, if they get on a lead they’re very good squatting on it.”
One factor for the Texans in their less-than-stellar showings against the Jags and Lions was they were without corner Johnathan Joseph. He is expected to be back on the field Monday night, which will change everything for the Houston D.
“The one thing in both of those games is they didn’t have Johnathan Joseph; he’s their shutdown corner. It allows them to do what they like to do, which is blitz,” explained Johnson. “They blitz almost half the time — 43-percent of the time — particularly on third down. The only way you can do that is if you have a corner like they have in Johnathan Joseph.”
Should the Patriots try to turn tonight’s game into a track meet?
“If that happens, it’s over. (Houston) came back against Jacksonville and Detroit, but with all due respect that’s Jacksonville and Detroit,” said Johnson. “If (Houston) gets down, the way (head coach Gary) Kubiak runs this offense it works great if everything at the start of the game goes their way. If they have to abandon their game plan early, I think it’s going to be very difficult (to come back against the Patriots).”
Johnson goes on to discuss the success of Texans defensive end J.J. Watt. What makes him such an unbelievable force? What can Belichick do to contain Watt?