HOUSTON -- The last time the Houston Texans went to New England, they were riding high, owned he best record in the AFC, seemed on their way to the No. 1 seed in the conference and felt so good, in fact, they made up some hokey letterman jackets to wear on the trip.
The Patriots ripped the Texans 42-14 Dec. 10, and the Texans weren't the same the rest of the regular season. Some Patriots players made comments about those jackets after the game, something to the effect that the Texans were treating the game much bigger than it was -- which was just another regular-season game.
So here were five weeks later and the Texans are going back to New England, only this time it is a big game, the winner going to the AFC Championship Game, one step away from the Super Bowl.
Houston, which lost three of its final four regular-season games, did just enough on offense to pull out a 19-13 AFC wild-card victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday at Reliant Stadium to earn the trip to face the No. 2-seeded Patriots next Sunday.