When a team is not ready to play, it makes the kind of mistakes — mental and physical — the Texans made in their 42-14 prime-time debacle at New England last month.
This time, the Texans need to leave their mistakes at home. There’s no room for jitters. The divisional round of the NFL playoffs isn’t for players whose knees knock. It’s for slobber-knockers.
If the Texans don’t want to be embarrassed again on a national stage, they must go to New England better prepared to play. It was apparent from the start, for whatever reason, that the regular-season game against the Patriots on Dec. 10 was too big for them.
The Texans are coming off a 19-13 victory over Cincinnati in the wild-card round. They are 13-4 with a playoff victory for the second consecutive season. Now they must do what few outside their dressing room at Reliant Stadium believe they can do — upset the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
“Obviously, we were disappointed in how we played,” outside linebacker Connor Barwin said about the first New England game. “The difference is there’s a lot more on the line this time.