Foxborough is set to host its 17th NFL playoff game Sunday when the AFC East Champion New England Patriots take on the AFC South Champion Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium in the AFC Divisional Round.
Sunday’s showdown will be the fifth time the Patriots and Texans meet since Houston entered the NFL in 2002 and the first time in the postseason.
New England is 3-1 all-time against Houston, most recently
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.
With the Baltimore Ravens knocking off the Denver Broncos, 38-35 in double overtime Saturday, the winner of Sunday’s Patriots-Texans game will
The Patriots are 13-3 all-time at home in the playoffs but just 9-6 in the AFC Divisional Round. Click here for a closer look at the Patriots by the numbers in the playoffs.
Sunday’s playoff game will be nationally televised by CBS and can be seen in the Boston area on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will call the game. 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 Sunday’s AFC Divisional Round 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 Sunday. 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 12:30 p.m. Gillette Stadium's gates open at 2:30 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 Sunday's game. Fans must use I-95, I-495 or Route 140 to access Gillette Stadium.
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 Dec. 10, 2012 – Week 14 of the 2012 season - at Gillette Stadium, beating the Texans, 42-14 on Monday Night Football.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw for four touchdowns and 296 yards as the New England Patriots beat the Houston Texans, 42-14, on Monday Night Football at Gillette Stadium for their seventh straight win.
The Patriots’ defense held the Texans to just 14 points after Houston entered the game averaging 29.3 points per game, which had been the second-highest total in the NFL. The Patriots shut out the Texans in the first half and built a 42-7 lead before Houston closed out the scoring with a touchdown with 2:00 left.
A matchup of the top two scoring teams in the league was a mismatch from the outset. It took New England only one possession to start its scoring barrage as the Patriots surpassed their average of 35.8 points per game. The Patriots scored touchdowns in their first three drives to take a commanding 21-0 lead.
The Patriots first drive was set up by 31-yard punt return by WR Wes Welker followed by a 25-yard reception by Welker. That helped set up a 7-yard touchdown reception by TE Aaron Hernandez. Houston threatened on the next series, but DB Devin McCourty intercepted a QB Matt Schaub pass in the end zone. QB Tom Brady moved the Patriots inside Houston territory before connecting with WR Brandon Lloyd on a 37-yard touchdown pass for a 14-0 lead.
Brady engineered an 8-play, 70-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard scoring pass to Hernandez in the second quarter for a 21-0 lead.
The Patriots extended their lead to 28-0 in the third quarter when Brady completed a 63-yard touchdown pass to WR Donte’ Stallworth, who was re-signed to the team earlier in the week. The pass gave Brady his 18th game with at least four touchdown passes, moving ahead of Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas for fourth all-time. Brady nearly had a fifth as RB Danny Woodhead broke free on a screen pass early in the fourth period. Texans DE J.J. Watt forced a fumble, but the ball soared 11 yards into the end zone, where Lloyd fell on it for a 35-7 lead.
RB Stevan Ridley made it 42-7 with a 14-yard run for his 10th rushing touchdown of the season.
4. F-15s to Fly Over Gillette Stadium Prior to Kick-Off
A quartet of military fighter jets will be flying over Gillette Stadium Sunday prior to kick-off.
Four F-15 fighter jets from the 104th Fighter Wing out of Massachusetts Air National Guard in Westfield will be flying over Gillette Stadium – and Foxborough – at approximately 4:35 p.m. Kick-off will follow shortly after.
5. What to Watch For in Sunday's Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium
- Bill Belichick (17) needs one more postseason victory to move ahead of Joe Gibbs for sole possession of third place all-time in postseason wins. Tom Landry (20) is in first place followed by Don Shula (19).
- Tom Brady (16) needs one more postseason victory to break a tie with Joe Montana (16) for most playoff wins by a starting quarterback in NFL history.
- Brady has played in 22 playoff games with the Patriots and needs to play in one more playoff game to break a tie with Tedy Bruschi for most playoff games by a Patriots player.
- Brady (39) needs seven more postseason touchdowns to move past Joe Montana (45) and Brett Favre (44) for the all-time lead.
- Brady (5,285) needs 571 postseason yards to set the all-time NFL record for most postseason yards. Brett Favre (5,855), Joe Montana (5,772) and Peyton Manning (5,389) are currently ahead of Brady.
- Brady (499) can add to his NFL record of postseason completions.
- Brady (5) needs to play in on more Super Bowl to match DL Mike Lodish, who played in six (4 with Buffalo and two with Denver).
- Deion Branch (54) needs five receptions in the postseason to pass Troy Brown (58) for the most career playoff receptions in franchise history.
- Branch (836) can add to his team record for most receiving yards in the postseason.
- Wes Welker has had at least six catches in each of his seven postseason games with the Patriots.
- Welker (53) needs six postseason receptions to pass Troy Brown (58) for the most career playoff receptions in franchise history.
- Welker (438) needs 257 postseason receiving yards to move past Troy Brown (694) into second place all-time behind Deion Branch (836).