Former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson, now a host on Houston Sports Radio 610, joined the Dennis & Callahan show on Wednesday morning to preview Sunday's AFC playoff game between the Texans and Patriots.
The Texans were routed by the Pats, 42-14, on Dec. 10, and are big underdogs for the rematch.
"The only chance they really have, quite honestly, is to do what they do at the utmost perfect level. … A lot of things have to go to plan for the Texans, particularly early in the game," Johnson said. "Essentially, their philosophy is the same week in and week out. That is, establish the running game, complement it with the play-action pass, chew up the clock -- they love those 10-, 15-play drives -- play keep-away from the other team's offense, and that's how they do it. That only works if your defense is getting three-and-outs. We know what happened last time -- the Patriots exploded on them. That's the only chance, quite honestly, that the Texans have if they're going to win this game."
Quarterback Matt Schaub struggled against the Patriots, and two of his three regular-season games after that matchup were below average as Houston limped into the playoffs.
"There's something about playing the Patriots that absolutely exposes teams to every single flaw," said Johnson, who predicts a Patriots-Broncos AFC championship game. "I think Matt was never the same. Just mentally, he seems like he's forcing balls, he's so conservative, he's so afraid of making mistakes, and it shows."
All that said, Johnson said he expects the Texans will be motivated by the result of the last meeting.
"They're tiring of hearing how bad they got beat up," he said. "So, I think it's something that will serve them well."
Ultimately, Johnson said New England's willingness to mix things up while Houston's relies on the same game plan puts the Texans at a big disadvantage.
"[The Texans] have to change what they do," Johnson said. "I played on a team there in New England where I had a coach -- it was crazy. I had never seen anything like it. We would go from a 4-3 to a 3-4. Before we played my last game ever as a pro in New England, we go up in the Super Bowl in Jacksonville [in 2005] against the Eagles and we've been playing 3-4 all season long. Hey, guess what? We're going totally something different, we're going to throw a 4-3 at them and beat them with that. And that's what we did.
"They don't do that here. They don't change what they do. I just think that makes it so much easier for the Patriots, because they pretty much know for most of the time they're going to line up and they're going to play man to man. Well, if the Patriots know going in that's what they're going to to -- it's like all they're doing all week this week is running man views. That's all they're going to do. You know how they're going to line up because they haven't changed all season. So, I don't see this game being any different."
Touching on the controversy in Washington, where coach Mike Shanahan played ailing quarterback Robert Griffin III on Sunday, leading to the QB suffering more severe ligament damage, Johnson said Shanahan's behavior proves that the coaches in this league have too much power.
"We all think our coaches actually care about our well-being," Johnson said. "Shanahan can say all day, 'I didn't want to put him in jeopardy.' Are you kidding me? Really? Are you kidding me? You see that he can't do what he needs to do against a very physical team. I don't understand why you would risk the future of your franchise by keeping him out there. It's just an ego-driven thing. Honestly, it pisses me off."
Pete joined the show to discuss Tebow's signing with the Patriots. He said that Tim Tebow cant play and that he has trouble learning NFL playbooks.
On this episode of the It Is What It Is Cast, Chris Price talks with the Boston Herald's Jeff P Howe about the Patriots offseason, Rob Gronkowski's back surgery, Danny Amendola replacing Wes Welker, and how this seasons team will stack up against last seasons.
In the latest edition of the It Is What It Is Cast, Chris Price talks with Will Carroll. Injury expert and lead writer for Sports Medicine, Bleacher Report. They talk about the injury to Rob Gronkowski and what his back surgery could mean for his season.
Stephen A. joined the show to discuss the status of trade negotiations between the Clippers and the Celtics. Stephen said that it is a 50-50 proposition that Doc ends up in Los Angeles.
Grande and Max take more calls on the Celtics and discuss what lies ahead for Doc Rivers with Steve Bulpett.
Long-time Celtics beat-writer Steve Bulpett calls Grande and Max to discuss Doc, the C's and what the future looks like for the Green Team.
John Farrell postgame press conference
Dave O'Brien talked to John Farrell before the last game of the Baltimore series. The skipper said that the Sox have played tough through this stretch of long games.
Jonny Gomes talked to Joe Castiglione & Dave O'Brien after the third game of the Baltimore series. The Sox slugger hit a homer and scored two runs in the win.
Andy Brickley joins Mut and Merloni in studio to take phone calls from the listeners and to preview Game 3 of the Stanley Cup.
Hour 1 of Brickley in studio with Mut and Merloni have the three taking phone calls, recapping Game 2, and discussing Mike Milbury's comments on Jagr.
Shawn joined the show to discuss the teams OT win in Chicago. Shawn said that there was a heated discussion during the first intermission Saturday night in Chicago after the teams poor first period.
Shawn joined the show to discuss the Bruins' OT win in Chicago. Shawn said that there was a heated discussion during the first intermission Saturday night in Chicago after the team's poor first period.
Don Cherry joined the show to discuss the Cup finals. He said that he still thinks the Bruins will win the series over Chicago. Grapes added that he would not give Evgeni Malkin a dime and called him a loser.
It all started when McNeil and Spiegel from The Score in Chicago called Boston people drunks and called Fenway a "dump." Knowing that McNeil and Speigel weren't interested in talking to them on air, Lou called in to their show anyway. At first they were afraid, but they finally succumbed to the pressure.
We talk all Bruins, all the time with the man himself, Jack Edwards from NESN gets us ready for game three and beyond.
Four guys, four topics we haven't yet touched upon today. TO visits Ocho, Bob Costas has enough smarm for us all, stupid beauty pageant contestants and more.
We talk about the Bruins big showdown with the Blackhawks tonight at the Garden with the lovely and knowledgeable Kathryn Tappen of the NHL Network.
Mikey gets a surprise call from Bernie Carbo, they talk about old time baseball and Bernie's new book.
Mikey talks with Tom and Luke about their new movie, Plimpton! and finds out what it was like to try to encapsulate everything Plimpton accomplished during his life.
Today on the Daily Planet, the Red Sox and Yankees face off in the Bronx, Claude Julien doesn't want players wasting energy, and Dwight Howard and free agency.
Both Xander Bogaerts and Anthony Ranaudo punctuated their strong 2013 seasons with head-turning events on June 13. On that day, Bogaerts, the Red Sox' top prospect, was promoted from Double-A Portland Pawtucket, with the 20-year-old becoming one of the youngest position players in the affiliate's history. On that same day, right-hander Anthony Ranaudo punched out 13 batters for Double-A Portland, the most strikeouts by a Red Sox minor leaguer since Jon Lester in 2005. They joined Minor Details to discuss both those accomplishments and their seasons to date.More from this show