Wednesday, December 5, 2012

New England-bound Texans confident on road


The AFC East-champion New England Patriots are 8-1 against AFC teams this year, and 4-1 at home. But according to Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak, that doesn't faze his team in the least.

Kubiak's division-leading squad has secured itself a playoff spot as well, and at 11-1 and unbeaten on the road, they don't seem to care where they play. (photo: Matt Britt, Flickr)

“It’s a confidence thing,” Kubiak told reporters Monday. “I've been with young teams that they go on the road. Here comes the noise, all of a sudden boy you panic and you just don’t look like yourself. This group, it doesn't matter. They’ll go play anywhere.”

The Texans have certainly proved that. In the six games the team has played on the road, the margin of victory has been an average of 10 points, including hard fought wins in both Chicago and Denver, the Broncos' only home loss this year.

Sunday's game in Foxborough will certainly be a tough test, with the Pats putting up an average of 35 points a game at home.

When it comes to closing out games at Gillette Stadium, however, New England has struggled. Three out of five of the Patriots' games at home have been decided by six points or less, as the team barely eeked its way past the Jets in overtime and were handed a gift of an interception by Bills' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in the red zone to seal that win late in the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Tom Brady wasn't about to shrug off the Texans' stout road record Wednesday, but he knows better than anyone that the Patriots always gets hot when it matters — in December.

“I think the better you play, the better your home field advantage is because the more the crowd is into it," Brady said. "I think the mark of our teams over the years has been we’ve improved as the season has gone along.

"I think we as a team have responded to that and played well. That's what’s important this time of the year: to not make the same mistakes we were making in September and to play our best football. This will be a great week to see if we can accomplish that.”

Houston has only played New England once on the road, a demoralizing 40-7 loss back in 2006.

Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily