BOSTON (CBS) – The 98.5 The Sports Hub, WBZ NewsRadio 1030 and WBZ-TV Sports teams make their predictions for Monday night’s Patriots-Texans showdown at Gillette.

Scott Zolak, 98.5 The Sports Hub

This is one of those games where we say, “if you’re not going run with the big dogs, stay on the porch.”

We’re going to find out if the Houston Texans are a big dog or a little dog on Monday night.

I think Houston is going to show up, but as a little dog. I can’t help but go back to that Green Bay game when the Packers spread them out. I think Houston will hang, but the Patriots will get up early and big.

Houston will come back, spread it out and make some plays around the field. We’ll be impressed with Andre Johnson when the night is over, but we won’t be impressed with Arian Foster.

Patriots 31, Texans 23

Andy Gresh, 98.5 The Sports Hub

This is the first of two big games for the Patriots. This one, the AFC matchup, obviously matters more. In talking with some people down at Gillette, you hear them positioning it as important as an AFC Championship game.

Houston is really good on both lines of scrimmage, and the Patriots are really going to have to rise up. I’m worried about the Patriots offensive line against this Texans’ defensive line, led by J.J. Watt.

It will come down to turnovers and the quarterbacks, and I think both are pretty good. Brady will be a tick better, and the Patriots should win. But this could go the other way if the Patriots are sloppy with the football.

Look for a very close game, a fun game, and the Patriots will end up on top at the end. But it’s no lock by any stretch.

Patriots 31, Texans 30

Walt Perkins, WBZ NewsRadio 1030

Could this be a preview of the AFC Championship?

Bill Belichick would scoff at such a suggestion, noting there is still a quarter of the season to play. But with three-quarters of the season in the books, is there any doubt that the two strongest teams in the conference are meeting Monday night in Foxboro?

I think the game comes down to two words: ball control.

The Patriots will want to keep the Houston offense on the bench and the Texans would love it if Tom Brady and the Patriots offense had to watch a majority of the action from the sidelines. Houston averages about 36:00 of possession this season. That means that Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and Arian Foster are on offense for almost three-quarters of the game. No wonder they are 11-1.

If the Patriots defense can’t get Schaub, Johnson and Foster off the field, it will be a long night at Gillette.

That being said, the same holds true for the reverse. If the Patriots can control the ball and the clock, look for yet another home December win for the Flying Elvi, who haven’t lost a December game at home in ten years.

I think this one goes down to the wire and the team with the ball last will get the win.

Patriots 24, Texans 20

Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports

The biggest problem the Patriots face on Monday night is offense, and just how much Tom Brady will have. It’s Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, etc. No Gronk and no Edelman. However, I still think the Patriots will put up points, especially with Houston corner Johnathan Joseph banged up.

On defense, the Pats face one of their biggest challenges of the season because of Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, Owen Daniels, Kevin Walter and all the other weapons Matt Schaub has at his disposal. It’s tough to completely shut them down, and even if the Pats take a big lead the Texans have the firepower to come back.

But at home — where the Pats are 20-1 since 2001 in December — I will take the Patriot.

Patriots 38, Texans 28

Levan Reid, WBZ-TV Sports

These are the two games the Pats have circled on their calendar. But let’s take them one game at a time and worry about the 49ers next week.

The last time the Pats played a team better than them this late in the season was Tampa Bay in 2005. They are usually the better team and the motivation is to keep the moving forward. All week the Pats kept singing the same mantra; they all called the Texans the best team in the NFL and they needed to prove themselves against the best.

That’s motivation the Patriots have not had in a very long time. They have the right mindset for this game. Also, Tom Brady does well against Wade Phillips’ defensive schemes. The last time he played him was against Dallas in 2007, and Brady lit him up for 388 yards and five touchdowns. That could happen again on Monday night.

The Pats are ready for this game and I am not sure the Texans are.

Patriots 34, Texans 28

Tune in to the Patriots-Texans showdown Monday night on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pregame coverage begins at 5pm with Patriots Preview, followed by three hours of postgame coverage after the game. Tune in to WBZ-TV’s Patriots 5th Quarter following the game over on myTV38.


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