Despite the fact that the Texans lead the AFC with an 11-1 record, they’re not without vulnerabilities. With that in mind, here’s a five-point plan for the Patriots to knock off the Texans Monday night at Gillette:



FOXBORO -- After missing the last several weeks of practice and games with ankle injuries, Logan Mankins and Chandler Jones were both spotted at Wednesday's walkthrough practice inside Dana-Farber Field House Wednesday afternoon. 

Also in attendance was Dan Connolly, who has been battling back issues that forced him to miss the second half of Sunday's game against the Dolphins. 

Practice was very informal as several players were in sweats with no jersey identification. 

The Patriots and the Texans will meet Monday night at Gillette Stadium in what some believe will be a preview of the AFC championship game.



The Patriots made a pair of expected moves official on Tuesday afternoon, announcing that they had acquired wide receiver Donte' Stallworth and moved wide receiver Julian Edelman to injured reserve. In addition, they released offensive lineman Mitch Petrus and signed offensive linemen Tommie Draheim and Colin Miller to the practice squad.

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman has a broken foot which will require surgery and likely require the wideout to be placed on season-ending injured reserve, according to a report from WBZ-TV's Dan Roche.

Remember when the regular-season showdown between the Patriots and Colts was simply the first act of a two-part miniseries that everyone thought was ultimately going to be settled down the road? CBS cranked up the hype machine, national writers fell back on the default “good vs.



In a season that’s seen plenty of memorable offense, it was the finest sequence of the year for New England.



FOXBORO -- In a move to add veteran depth to the receiving corps in the wake of injuries to Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots Monday re-signed 33-year-old Donte' Stallworth, according to multiple reports. Gronkowski broke his left forearm on Nov. 18 against the Colts while Edelman left Sun Life Stadium in a walking boot and on crutches after Sunday's game. 

Making his weekly appearance on The Big Show, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said he reached out Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel after Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and himself in a murder-suicide on Saturday. 

After shooting Kassandra Perkins, Belcher drove to Arrowhead Stadium and met with Pioli and Crennel, thanking his general manager and coach before taking his life. Given Pioli and Crennel's long history of working in New England, Belichick said the incident shook the Pats as well. 

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning, recapping Sunday's 23-16 victory over the Dolphins that clinched the AFC East title for New England.