Foxborough is set to host a primetime NFL matchup Monday night when the New England Patriots (9-3) take on the AFC-leading Houston Texans (11-1) at Gillette Stadium on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.
Monday night’s showdown in Foxborough will be the fourth time the Patriots and Texans meet since Houston entered the NFL in 2002 and for the first time since the 2009 regular-season finale when Houston took a 34-27 win on Jan. 3, 2010.
New England is 2-1 against Houston in the regular season with wins in 2003 and 2006.
Houston lost 47-7 on Dec. 17, 2006 in their first and only visit to Gillette Stadium. The Patriots claimed a 23-20 overtime win in their first trip to Reliant Stadium on Nov. 23, 2003. The teams last met in the 2009 regular-season finale when Houston took a 34-27 win on Jan. 3, 2010.
Before the Texans joined the league, the Patriots and the Houston Oilers were old foes dating back to the days of the American Football League, playing twice a year from 1960-69 and 33 times overall before the Oilers moved to Tennessee following the 1996 season.
Last week, the Patriots and Texans both earned playoff berths with Week 13 victories. to clinch the team’s ninth AFC East division title in the last 10 years and fourth in a row.
New England has now qualified for the playoffs 20 times in its 53-year history. The Patriots have earned 14 playoff berths in the 19 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, a dramatic contrast to the six total playoff berths that the team earned in its first 34 years of existence. New England has won 12 AFC East crowns under Kraft’s leadership. New England has won 15 division crowns overall (14 AFC East Crowns) and has qualified as a Wild Card team on four occasions (1998, 1994, 1985 and 1976). The Patriots also qualified for the playoffs in 1982 as part of a 16-team tournament following a players’ strike.
The Texans defeated the Tennessee Titans, 24-10 last week to clinch the organization’s second consecutive playoff berth.
Monday night’s game will be the Patriots first of two primetime, nationally-televised matchups in Foxborough and the team’s first home game since a 59-24 romp of the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 18
This week’s game will be nationally televised by ESPN and can also be seen in Boston on ABC affiliate WCVB-TV Channel 5. Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden will call the game. Lisa Salters will be the sideline reporter.
98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 36th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action. Former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak will handle the color commentary.
Here's five things you need to know about Monday's game.
1. Foxborough Parking Ban in Effect, Stadium Parking Information and Gates Openings
Foxborough’s parking bylaw, which prohibits residents from parking vehicles on their property for a fee will be in effect Monday. Those in violation of the parking ban will be subject to a $100 fine. Click here for more information.
As for parking along Route 1, parking lots will open for game day at 4:30 p.m. Gillette Stadium's gates open at 6:30 p.m. for admission to the game.
General Parking Rates for Gillette Stadium Lots
- $40 for cars
- $125 for RVs (enter P10 N from the North, Enter P11 from the South)
- $125 for Limos (enter P1 N from north or P7 S from the south)
- $200 for buses (Enter P10 N from the North, Enter P11 from the South)
- $40 for motorcycles (one per space)
All Gillette Stadium Lots are cash only.
Allow Plenty of Time for Traffic Around the Stadium
Drivers are advised to allow themselves plenty of time when traveling near the stadium on game day. Traffic restrictions will be in place on local roads before and after Monday's game. Fans must use I-95, I-495 or Route 140 to access Gillette Stadium.
Because the game is on a Monday night, motorists should expect a larger traffic load because game traffic will be combined with the evening commute.
Click here to keep an eye on game day traffic with Patch’s live traffic feature.
2. The Dos and Don’ts at Gillette Stadium
No one wants to be "that fan" that doesn't know the stadium's security protocol. Be prepared on game day by reviewing the dos and don’ts at Gillette Stadium as well as other useful information about the facility:
- Ticket Policies
- Patron Screening
- Prohibited Items
- Acceptable Items
- Banner Policy
- Smoking Policy
- Medical Supplies or Dietary Considerations
- Fan Code of Conduct
- Security Assistance During an Event
- Lost & Found
- Letters of Disinvite
- Designated Driver Program
3. The Last Time the Patriots and Texans Met …
The New England Patriots last played the Houston Texans on Jan. 3, 2010 at Reliant Stadium and lost 34-27. Many fans will remember it as the game that Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker tore his ACL.
The Houston Texans overcame a 27-13 deficit with a 21-point fourth quarter to drop the Patriots to a 10-6 record with a 34-27 victory.
Houston safety Bernard Pollard had two big plays that helped the Texans win the game. One play after New England stopped Houston on a fourth-down attempt from the 1-yard line, running back Fred Taylor fumbled and Pollard recovered in the end zone to take a 13-10 lead in the second quarter. Then in the fourth quarter, Pollard intercepted a Tom Brady pass and returned it 15 yards to give Houston a first down at the 28-yard line and help set up the go-ahead touchdown.
The game got off to an inauspicious start after Welker was forced to leave the game early in the first quarter with a knee injury. Despite the adversity, New England and Houston played to a 13-13-halftime tie on a 4-yard touchdown run by running back Fred Taylor and field goals of 51 and 43 yards by Stephen Gostkowski.
New England took a 20-13 lead on a 91-yard interception return for a touchdown by rookie cornerback Darius Butler in the third quarter.
The Patriots extended their lead to 27-13 with a 9-play, 71-yard drive that ended with Taylor’s second touchdown of the day on an 11-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
Houston running back Arian Foster scored two fourth quarter touchdowns and quarterback Matt Schaub threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to complete the rally.
Brady played most of the game and finished 17-of-26 for 186 yards. He was replaced for the last series in the second quarter and the last series of the game by backup quarterback Brian Hoyer. Hoyer completed 8-of-12 passes for 71 yards and led the Patriots on a field goal drive in the second quarter and on a drive that ended at the Houston 34-yard line with 18 seconds remaining.
Rookie wide receiver Julian Edelman saw significant action in place of an injured Welker and responded with 10 receptions for 103 yards.
4. Matt Light to be Honored at Halftime
Matt Light, who announced his retirement from the Patriots on May 7, 2012, closing his 11-year career as one of the most productive players in the team’s history, will be honored at halftime of this week’s game. Light was originally drafted by the Patriots in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. The Purdue product spent his entire 11-year NFL career with the Patriots. Light left the football field having played a major role in leading the Patriots to 11 consecutive seasons with a winning record, nine division championships, five conference titles and three Super Bowls.
“For the past 11 seasons, Matt’s many accomplishments, both on and off the field, made him the consummate Patriot,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. “For more than a decade, Matt anchored the offensive line and protected Tom Brady’s blind side, delivering three Super Bowl titles and five conference championships during his tenure.”
5. What to Watch For in Monday's Game at Gillette Stadium
- The Patriots have an all-time record of 80-47-1(.629) against the teams that make up the AFC South. It is the only division in the NFL where the Patriots own winning records against each team. New England owns winning marks against Tennessee (23-16-1), Indianapolis (47-29), Jacksonville (8-1) and Houston (2-1).
- The New England Patriots are 21-22 all-time on Monday Night Football, including 14-5 under head coach Bill Belichick and 6-1 at home. The Patriots were 2-0 in 2011 on Monday Night Football, following a 38-24 win at Miami on Sept.12 and a 34-3 win vs. Kansas City on Nov. 21. The Patriots are 10-8 in home Monday Night Football games and 11-14 on the road.
- Tom Brady owns a 12-4 record when playing on Monday Night Football. His best statistical performance on Monday Night Football was in the 2011 season-opener when he completed 32-of-48 pass attempts for 517 yards and four touchdowns, including a 99-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker in the win at Miami (September, 2012). Brady has thrown three or more touchdowns in a Monday Night game eight times, including three four-touchdown performances. He has thrown four touchdowns in two of his last three Monday Night games. He had four in a 31-7 win at Minnesota (10/30/06), four in a 45-3 win vs. NY Jets (12/6/10) and four in a 38-24 win at Miami (9/12/11).
- Bill Belichick is 15-8 all-time on Monday Night Football, including 14-5 as head coach of the Patriots.
- Bill Belichick (201) needs one more win to break a tie with Dan Reeves and move into sole possession of seventh place all-time.
- With one touchdown pass against the Texans, Tom Brady will extend his streak to 45 straight games with at least one touchdown pass and continue his third longest streak all time, behind Drew Brees (54) and Johnny Unitas (47).
- Brady has 52 career 300-yard games in the regular season and needs one more to break a fifth place tie with Kurt Warner. Brett Favre is in fourth with 62 300-yard games.
- Brady tied Drew Brees with his ninth NFL game with four touchdowns, 300 yards and no interceptions against St. Louis and needs one more such game to be alone in first place.
- Brady has 35 games with three touchdowns and no interceptions and needs one more such game to tie Brett Favre (36) for second place, behind Peyton Manning (37).
- Brady (3,537) needs 463 passing yards to reach 4,000 yards for the fifth time and join Dan Marino (6), Drew Brees (6), Brett Favre (6) and Peyton Manning (11) as the only players to have at least five seasons with 4,000 passing yards.
- Stephen Gostkowski (7-of-10) needs one more 50-yard field goal to tie Adam Vinatieri (8-of-17) for most 50-yard field goals in Patriots history.
- Gostkowski has two 50-yarders so far in 2012 and can become the first Patriots player with three 50-yard field goals in a single season.
- With 10 tackles, Jerod Mayo will have his 10th 10-plus tackle game of the season. He had a career-best with 10 double digit tackle games in 2010.
- Rob Ninkovich has a team-leading five forced fumbles. If he has one more forced fumble he will break a tie with Mike Vrabel (five in 2007) for the most forced fumbles for a Patriots player within the last 20 years.
- Ninkovich has 6.0 sacks in 2012 and needs one more to set a career best. He had 6.5 sacks in 2011.
- If Stevan Ridley (9) gets one more touchdown it will be the 13th time in Patriots history that a running back finished a season with 10 or more touchdowns rushing.
- Ridley (9) and Rob Gronkowski (10) can both reach 10 touchdowns. It will be the third straight seasons and the fifth time in team history that the Patriots have had two players finish with 10 or more touchdowns in a season.
- Wes Welker (17) needs one more 10-plus catch game to break a tie with Jerry Rice (17) for the most 10-catch games in NFL history.
- Welker needs one reception to extend his streak to 90 straight regular-season games with at least one reception as a member of the Patriots to extend his franchise record. Welker has an overall streak of 106 straight regular-season games with at least one reception, including his time with the Miami Dolphins.
- Welker (92) needs 8 receptions to become the first player in NFL history with five 100-catch seasons.
- The Patriots are 20-0 in the second half of the season since 2010. In both 2010 and 2011, the Patriots were 8-0 in the second half of the season. Their last loss in the second half was in the 2009 season-finale at Houston, a 34-27 loss, on Jan. 3, 2010.
- With one more victory the Patriots will secure their 10th straight season with at least 10 wins.