The New England Patriots maintained their conference headlock on the Houston Texans for the second time in five weeks, and Sunday's 41-28 divisional victory at Gillette Stadium went largely as the defending AFC champs had planned.
Unfortunately, this was the kind of miserable playoff exit the Texans know all too well after last season.
Baltimore ended Houston's playoff road in 2011 in the second round. Now the city's streak of failing to advance to the AFC championship round with the Oilers and Texans has extended to 33 frustrating years.
Houston has never played host to an AFC title game. As long as Tom Brady (17 playoff victories) continues to stand in the way, that futility streak figures to continue.
The former AFC front-runners entered Week 14 at 11-1, then succumbed to a late-season tailspin following a humbling 42-14 loss at Foxboro in Week 14, losing three of four to end the regular season.
In two games this season, Brady and the Patriots put up 83 points against the Te...