FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - The New England Patriots are preparing for their toughest opponent in a season in which seven of their nine wins have come against teams with losing records.
They'll face the Houston Texans (11-1) at home on Monday night. The Texans hold the top spot in the AFC with the Patriots (9-3) in second. The top two seeds in each conference get a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The Patriots did manage to rout the Indianapolis Colts 59-24 on Nov. 18. And the Colts are 8-4 with a chance for a wild-card berth. The Patriots also beat the Denver Broncos (9-3) in the fifth game of the year, 31-21.
Now they have a chance for their third victory over a team with a winning record. It won't be easy.
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