Friday post previewing the Pats-Texans is up. 10 Keys, we went all out.
The Texans have the best defense in the NFL on third down (28 percent), and the Patriots have the best offense (53 percent). This should make for an epic chess match on the most important down in football. But really, success on third down is largely tied to success on first and second down, which means the team that stops the run better will set itself up better for success. Specifically, the Texans defense allows conversions on 3rd-and-6-plus 23 percent of the time, but on 3rd-and-5 or less, it allows conversions 39 percent of the time. That is a significant difference and also a greater jump than the Patriots offense in the same situations (38 percent and 48 percent, respectively).