Story line: Two of the AFC's top teams have only three prior meetings but could be destined for a playoff rematch. New England's Tom Brady has thrown just one pass for an interception in the last six games, and will confront a defense weakened by injuries to four starters. Houston's J.J. Watt will be active, however, and his 15 deflected passes caused Patriots Coach Bill Belichick to joke he was going to have defenders hold brooms in front of Brady in practice.
Texans said: "You know you're going to have to raise your level of play and play as good as you can possibly play." — Gary Kubiak, coach.
Patriots said: "[The] offense is OK to have a bad game here and there. They've done so much for us and one thing we want to do around here is we always want to play as a team." — Vince Wilfork, defensive tackle.
Bottom line: The Patriots are favored by 3 1/2 points. … Each team has won six games in a row. … Houston will miss LB Brooks Reed and CB Brice McCain, but could get DB Johnathan Joseph and LB Bradie James back from injury. … New England is 10-1 in the last 11 Monday night games.
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