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."
We check in on the Patriots off-season with ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss. Mike updates us on Revis, McCourty, Wilfork and more.
Price calls Butch to discuss the March 2nd deadline for franchise tags, free agency and the Pats' plans going forward.
Shortly after the NFLRA released its statement demanding an apology from ESPN, Jim Quirk, the NFLRA's Executive Director, joined Mut to talk about the statement
Flannery joins Mut to break down the Isaiah Thomas trade to Boston and what it means for the Celtics this season and in the future. Paul also chats with Mut about the other deals that happened at the NBA's trading deadline
We talk to Chris Mannix from SI to break down the C's acquisition of Isaiah Thomas and the crazy trade deadline in the rest of the NBA.
Jessica Camerato of basketballinsiders.com joins the show to talk about Marcus Smart, the starting lineup, and trade deadline.
The one and only Rob Bradford calls Butch to discuss his early thoughts on this Red Sox team, the potential in the rotation, how the outfield will shake out and more.
David Ortiz takes a few minutes to talk with Mut, Bradford, and Tomase about some of his new teammates, who Pablo Sandoval reminds him of, and the rules aimed at speeding up the game of baseball.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are talking Red Sox spring training. and talk with Red Sox DH David Ortiz about the rules aimed at speeding up the pace of the game
In the second of Sunday Skate, DJ and Joe discuss the approaching NHL trade deadline and what the B's will do. They get into the Boychuk move at the beginning of the season and Boychuk's brother venting on Twitter this morning about complaining B's fans. There is more discussion on the 3rd and 4th lines, their playoff chances and then they are joined by ESPN's Scott Burnside.
Another edition of Sunday Skate is upon us and DJ and Joe get into the B's big win over Arizona last night and the improvement of Ryan Spooner. They get into the Blackhawks giving up a 1st round pick for C Antoine Vermette - someone the B's could certainly use but weren't willing to give up the steep price of a 1st rounder. DJ and Joe also get into Claude's willingness to switch up lines as well as the performance of the 3rd and 4th lines. Finally, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman sits down with the boys.
Scott Burnside joins the boys to discuss the Bruins and the NHL trade deadline.
A look back at Dennis and Callahan's 2015 trip to spring training. They visited with Larry Lucchino, Ben Cherington, Xander Bogaerts, John Farrell, Mookie Betts, Joe Kelly, Curt Schilling and Dustin Pedroia.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk are joined by Rob Bradford, Gordon Edes and Steve Buckley to forecast the 2015 campaign.
Pedroia joins the guys in Fort Myers to look at the upcoming season and his health entering the spring.
Brick joined the show to talk about the couple players that the B's added. He noted that the lack of subtractions means that the front office trusts the core group.
The Red Sox entire team wore the number 3 to honor Pete Frates. The HS team that was suspended for trying to bring awareness to breast cancer have been allowed to play. Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley are bad at karaoke, but not as bad as Joey and Christian.
With the Patriots focusing on CB Darrelle Revis, it's likely that the team will lose safety Devin McCourty or Brandon Browner. Or both.
We talk Boston Bruins with NESN's Jack Edwards, our first talk since the NHL trade deadline.
Jerry discusses the plus and minus' of the Patriots first (of many) Super Bowl DVD's
Dale and Michael briefly discuss the opening of the Marathon Bombing Trial, and how the 'Free Dhzokar' crowd will have to get a new hobby.
Mikey, Mut, and Lenny are joined by the Rev girls, who are revealing the New Revolution uniform Tuesday at the House of Blues in Boston and talking about the Revs.
Mikey, Lenny, and Maggie talk Red Sox baseball with Red Sox Hall of Famer Bill Lee, who is in Florida and out of the snow that's perpetually burying the area.
Mikey gets a call from Kirk Minihane, who wants to clear the air with Mikey and get everything settled. It goes better than you think.
Adam Himmelsbach, Celtics beat reporter for the Boston Globe, joins the show to share his love of the Brow and discuss the surging Celtics playoff chances. Then we take a field trip to the MIT Sloan Analytics Conference and analyze the data with Rick Friedman.
Chris and comedian Will Noonan discuss the events of last night's Raw.
WEEI’s Scott McLaughlin previews the opening round of the Hockey East tournament with Northeastern coach Jim Madigan and Mike McMahon of College Hockey News and The Mack Report.
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