NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (14-2) at HOUSTON TEXANS (9-7)
Saturday Jan. 14, 2017 at 8:15 p.m. ET. Gillette Stadium (66,829)
The New England Patriots finished the 2016 regular season with a 14-2 record for an NFL record fifth time in team history. The team also earned the top seed in the AFC playoff field for the sixth time (2016, 2014, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003), the most in the NFL since the current playoff formula was established in 1990. The Patriots will host a Divisional Playoff game against Houston on Sat., Jan. 14 at 8:15 p.m. This season marks the seventh straight year that the Patriots will host a Divisional game, adding to their NFL record. Miami hosted five straight from 1981 through 1985.
The Patriots and Texans will meet in the postseason for the second time. In 2012, the Patriots hosted the Texans in an AFC Divisional Game, a matchup the Patriots won, 41-28, on Jan. 13, 2013, at Gillette Stadium.
This week’s game will be the second meeting between the two teams in 2016. The Patriots hosted the Texans on Thurs, Sept. 22 and beat them, 27-0 in rookie QB Jacoby Brissett’s first NFL start.
Overall, the Patriots have met Houston eight times and hold a 7-1 advantage since Houston entered the NFL in 2002.
The Patriots are 4-0 overall against the Texans when playing at home.
New England’s only loss against Houston was in the final game of the 2009 regular-season when Houston defeated the Patriots 34-27. The Patriots had already clinched the division prior to that game and Tom Brady was relieved for portions of that game by then backup QB Brian Hoyer.
Before the Texans joined the league, the Patriots and the Houston Oilers were foes dating back to the days of the American Football League, playing twice a year from 1960-69 and 33 times overall before the Oilers moved to Tennessee following the 1996 season.
BRADY VS. HOUSTON
Tom Brady is slated to start against the Houston for the second time in the postseason. He is 5-1 against Houston in the regular season and 1-0 in the postseason.
BILL BELICHICK DIVISIONAL ROUND RECORD
Bill Belichick will coach in his 14th Divisional Playoff Game and will tie Don Shula for the most Divisional Playoff Games in NFL history. This week’s game will be Belichick’s 13th Divisional Playoff game with New England.
MOST DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF GAMES BY A HEAD COACH IN NFL HISTORY
14 Don Shula
13 Bill Belichick
TOM BRADY DIVISIONAL ROUND RECORD
Tom Brady will play in his 13th Divisional Playoff Game, to tie Jerry Rice for the most in NFL history.
MOST DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF GAMES PLAYED
13 Jerry Rice, San Francisco, Oakland
12 Tom Brady
TELEVISION: This week’s game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4 in Boston. Jim Nantz will handle play-by-play duties with Phil Simms as the color analyst. Tracy Wolfson will work the sidelines. The game will be produced by Lance Barrow and directed by Mike Arnold.
NATIONAL RADIO: This week’s game will be broadcast to a national audience on Westwood One. Ian Eagle and Mike Mayock will call the game with Ross Tucker providing sideline analysis.
LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis. Produced by Marc Cappello.
PATS LOCK UP TOP SEED IN AFC
The Patriots have now earned six number one seeds (2016, 2014, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003) in the postseason since 1990, the most in the NFL under that system. The NFL began playoff seeding in 1975 and the current playoff format was instituted in 1990.
MOST NO. 1 SEEDS IN THE PLAYOFF FIELD
New England 6
San Francisco 4
MOST NO. 1 SEEDS OVERALL
San Francisco 8
New England 6
PATS AIM FOR RECORD 6TH STRAIGHT AFC CHAMP. GAME
The New England Patriots are seeking a berth in their sixth consecutive conference championship game, which would break a tie with the Oakland Raiders for most in NFL history.
NFL TEAMS WITH AT LEAST FOUR CONSECUTIVE CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME APPEARANCES SINCE 1970 MERGER
|New England Patriots (5)||2011-2015||(2-3) W, L, L,W, L|
|Oakland Raiders (5)||1973-1977||(1-4) L, L, L, W, L|
|Philadelphia Eagles (4)||2001-2004||(1-3) L, L, L, W|
|Buffalo Bills (4)||1990-1993||(4-0) W, W, W, W|
|Dallas Cowboys (4)||1970-1973||(2-2) W, W, L, L|
|Dallas Cowboys (4)||1992-1995||(3-1) W, W, L, W|
ALL-TIME PLAYOFF RESULTS
The Patriots have compiled a 29-19 record in their 48 playoff games and their .604 playoff winning percentage is third-best in NFL history among teams that have played at least 15 playoff games.
PATRIOTS IN THE PLAYOFFS
The Patriots have qualified for the playoffs 24 times in their 57-year history. Eighteen of those playoff berths have come in the 23 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, a dramatic contrast to the six total playoff berths the team earned in its first 34 years of existence. The Patriots have won 19 division crowns, including 14 in the last 16 seasons, and have qualified as a Wild Card team four times (1976, 1985, 1994 and 1998). The Patriots also qualified for the playoffs in 1982 during the strike season.
PATRIOTS AT HOME IN THE PLAYOFFS
The Patriots are 18-4 (.818) at home in the playoffs in their history. Twenty-one of the franchise’s 22 home playoff games have taken place since Robert Kraft purchased the team 22 years ago. After Kraft bought the team, the Patriots won 11 consecutive home playoff games before experiencing a home loss.