ESPN Boston have gathered quotes from a bunch of the Houston Texans ahead of the divisional round game with the New England Patriots. And... There's a very interesting mix of views here. There's talk of embarrassment, lack of swagger, an ultimate challenge and - pregnancy. Yes, pregnancy... Lets delve in.
"New England’s intensity was higher than ours [on Dec. 10]. You feel, like, ashamed to say it. But in that game, you could tell they were putting forth that extra effort. They were making those plays that I’m talking about to win. I’m pregnant with it and I told them that on the sideline. Can’t forget it. You gotta take it with you. You gotta feel it in you. Every bit of despair you felt going off that field, you gotta feel it. That’s the level you gotta go to when you’re playing a team like that. It can’t just be work as usual, it’s gotta be personal." - DL Antonio Smith
"Right when we left there last time, we wanted to play those guys again. We had a bad outing, and we knew we could play a lot better than the first time. We are excited to go up to Foxborough and get it done." - WR Kevin Walter
"We knew that if we went out and took care of business [versus the Bengals] we would get another shot at them. They’re a great football team, we know that. Last time we went up there, we didn’t put out a good performance. Actually, they gave us a real good butt whooping. But we’ll be ready.” - WR Andre Johnson
"They’re very, very hard to beat up there, especially at this time of year. We have a huge test ahead of us.” - C Chris Myers
"It’s a great challenge. That’s a very good team. They know what they’re doing in the playoffs. They’ve been there many times before. They know what it takes. It’s going to take everything we have, and we’re really excited about that challenge and I know we’re going to have one heckuva week of practice." - DL J.J. Watt
"I feel like, personally, that we didn’t make as many plays [Dec. 10] as we had. We had guys open who could have made plays and for whatever reason we just weren’t getting those big plays that we needed. When you’re going back to a place like that you’re familiar with it, you know what the crowd’s going to be like, what the stadium’s going to be like so that’s not something that’s new to us. I think that will help us." - FB James Casey
"Obviously, we were disappointed in how we played. The difference is there’s a lot more on the line this time. We didn’t play well the first time. We know they’ll be ready, and we know we’ll have to [turn] it up a notch if we want to go there and get the win. ... Obviously we were disappointed in how we played, embarrassed with how we played." - OLB Connor Barwin
"I think when we went up there to Foxborough we just didn’t play with the type of swagger and the energy and the urgency that they played with. I think we were playing a lot of ‘I-ball.’ And what I mean by that, guys were feeling like, ‘I have to make this play. I have to do this. I have to do that.’ Instead of playing within the defense and our system and we were able to be exposed.” - S Danieal Manning
“I don’t know how much I’m going to look at that [Dec. 10 game], man, honestly. [The Patriots] are a good team. We’re a good team. I’ll glance at it. But I’m not going to sit there and burn a candle and watch it. ... No one is thinking about us losing like that. We put that behind us the next week and that’s what you have to do in this league. They’re a great team obviously. They have a great coach and a great quarterback and they have great role players on their team. I have a lot of respect for them but we can play ball, too. We didn’t play our best football up there and we hurt ourselves with penalties and mistakes. Anytime you give them opportunities, they’ll take advantage of them but we’ll play our best up there." - RB Arian Foster
Well there's a whole lot of different views in here. Of course, you're always have the right to your own opinion, but it doesn't look like the Texans have the Patriots single mindedness. You know when the Patriots come out to talk to the media, they'll come out with the "company line", not say anything too controversial, but make sure the message is clear. There isn't that in the Texans quotes.
The main difference is guys saying it's personal. They've taken the defeat hard, and they just want to go in there and beat up the Pats. Then there are other guys just saying, let's just not make mistakes and we'll be fine.
Maybe I'm looking into this too much, maybe I'm just a homer in thinking the way the Patriots do things are the best. But the thing to take away from this is: The Texans wanted us in the playoffs, they're determined to play a lot better than they did in Week 14. So the Patriots will have to play at their best to get through to the AFC Championship game.
Hit me up on Twitter, @BrendanAnnely