New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick won't like this one.
Expect plenty of respect coming from the Patriots locker room in regards to the Houston Texans this week. New England, led by the laser-focused Belichick, will do all it can to guard against overconfidence after trouncing Houston, 42-14, in December. However, that doesn't mean the local media will follow suit.
Longtime Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy ripped the Texans to shreds in his latest article. He called Houston "frauds" and "tomato cans," among other things.
"The 2012-13 Texans? Pure frauds," Shaughnessy wrote. "The worst 11-1 team in the history of the NFL. These Texans have absolutely zero chance of beating New England here next week. And everybody knows that this is true.
"The Texans lost three of their final four games during the regular season. In the last seven weeks of the season, they had the 27th-ranked defense in the NFL. They had to go into overtime to beat the horrible Jaguars and Lions."
But Shaughnessy wasn't done.
"Could this get any easier? I mean, seriously?" Shaughnessy wrote. "The planets are aligned and the tomato cans are in place. The fraudulent Houston Texans are the only team standing between the New England Patriots and a trip to the AFC Championship game."
I think this column went overboard. Yes, New England will be favored but anything can happen in the playoffs. (Remember the New York Jets in 2010?)
The Texans are good enough to win this playoff game if the Patriots get overconfident. And this is just the kind of bulletin-board material Houston needs. The Texans probably weren't going to get it this week from the tight-lipped Patriots. So this will have to do.