After an early afternoon reprieve from regular season rematches, it’s back to teams that have seen each other in the recent past. Last go-round, it didn’t go so well for Houston. A defense that had already showed signs of vulnerability going against Aaron Rodgers earlier in the season was picked apart in a game where the Patriots didn’t even have Gronk playing.

So unless the Texans wish to be the team that gives Tom Brady his record 17th postseason victory, ol’ Wade Phillips will have had to put down the pulled pork and come up with more effective schemes against the Patriots offense. New England has been taking the usual J.J, Watt preparations, which mostly involves holding practice with tennis raquets.

Watt also reportedly spit on the midfield logo during warmups. No one cares, but Pats fans think that’s SHAMEFUL SHIFTLESS DAAAHKKKIEEEE BEHAVIAH!

Both teams enter the game remarkably healthy, with no players even listed as questionable on either side. Houston arrived in New England with a less than inspiring home victory over Cincinnati, during which the Bengals had ample chances to seize victory but exploited none of them. Cincy’s defense might be overall better than the Patriots, but New England’s D has improved noticeable over the joke that it was last season. Even if it weren’t, Matt Schaub is going to have to perform exceedingly better than the effort put forth in the Wild Card round.

Safe to assume that regardless of result, Dan Shaughnessy will continue to troll, but at least a Texans victory averts another Ravens-Patriots AFC Championship Game, so here’s to that longshot.

[GIF via]