10 quick-hit thoughts on the Texans

Getting to know the Patriots' next opponent, the Texans, with 10 quick-hit thoughts:

1. They are 8-7 and retain slim playoff hopes. They need to beat the Patriots and have two of Baltimore, NY Jets and Denver lose. After losing four in a row, they have won their last three games -- over Seattle, St. Louis and Miami.

2. Their offense is heavily skewed toward the pass. They rank second in the NFL in passing yards per game (290.6) and 31st in rushing yards per game (88.7).

3. Only Peyton Manning (553) has attempted more passes than Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (544). Schaub has completed 68.4 percent of his passes, with 27 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

4. Receiver Andre Johnson is tied for fourth in the NFL with 95 receptions, and his 1,504 receiving yards is tops in the league.

5. Rookie strongside linebacker Brian Cushing, their 2009 first-round draft choice (15th overall), leads the team with 128 tackles. He teams with DeMeco Ryans to form a solid 1-2 combination as both were named to the Pro Bowl as reserves.

6. Head coach Gary Kubiak is conluding his fourth season. The Texans are 17-3 when they win the turnover battle in Kubiak's tenure. They have a minus-2 turnover differential this season (25 takeaways, 27 giveaways).

7. They have struggled in the red zone defensively, ranking 30th in the NFL with opponents scoring 22 touchdowns in 35 trips (62.9 success rate).

8. Jacoby Jones has been dangerous as a return man, with a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a long of 62 as a punt returner.

9. Former Kansas City Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard, whose hit injured Tom Brady in the 2007 opener, has been starting at strong safety.

10. Former Patriots Vice President of Player Personnel Bobby Grier is the team's Associate Director of Pro Personnel.