Adjustments are being made by the opponents the second time around, obviously. The Patriots are expecting more of the same from the Texans, and planning a few tweaks of their own.
“I’m sure there are things that will be different,” said Tom Brady. “There always are. I don’t think any game ever goes as planned.
“I think there is always a part of seeing how they’re playing you, being able to adjust, and who can make the adjustments? Who can get those on the field and execute under pressure? That’s the team that’s going to win.
“Things aren’t going to be the same. They’re going to see things that they’re working on that are going to be different for us this time around. We do the same thing.
“I think you put a game plan in like we always do and see if it works. If it works, great, you win the game. But the next time you play them, you have to figure out another game plan.
“It’s never, ‘Let’s just take a bunch of those plays and just run those again.’ It’s, ‘What worked? What didn’t work?’ Because although the score was good, every play wasn’t perfect. It was far from it.”
Don’t tell that to Watt. In fact, tread lightly when bringing up the December blowout.
“We know how to win football games,” he said. “Obviously, we didn’t play good last time we were up there. I think we can all agree on that. I don’t think we need to keep rehashing it.
“I think we just need to play our style of football. We’re the Houston Texans. We’ll do what we do.”
If the Patriots win Sunday, it won’t be the last time they face a team they’ve already played this year. The AFC Championship game would bring either Denver (31-21 losers at Gillette Oct. 7) or Baltimore (31-30 winners on Sept. 23). Get to the Super Bowl and the Patriots could face San Francisco or Seattle, two teams that have knocked them off this season.
First things first. Sunday means Patriots-Texans II. The sequel has a whole lot more at stake.