HOUSTON -- Texans DE Antonio Smith sees an under-the-radar rivalry between the Texans and the Patriots.
Last season the teams played twice and the Patriots won both times by a combined margin of 41 points. Houston went to New England during the regular season when it was 11-1 and set for a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Patriots ruined that plan.
Now, Smith says, the Texans want to play spoiler versus the Patriots.
"The approach is to go in and be some spoilers," Smith said. "This team kind of spoiled our little home-field advantage last year, so we get the opportunity to go up against them. I think last year, this last few years, have kind of built a hidden rivalry. I know we're not in the same division, but it's a little bit of competitiveness and bad blood in this game. It's going to be a fun one to play."
Smith showed deference to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and said it's always fun to play against one of the best. But a question about why Brady seems to be able to make his offense work, regardless of who else is out there with him, elicited this gem:
"He's got a mad scientist behind him," Smith said. "I wouldn't put it all on Tom, man. That guy over there coaching [Bill Belichick] will find a flaw in everything that you do."