Texans' Schaub facing big test against Patriots

Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:58pm EST
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By Simon Evans

(Reuters) - Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub starts his first road playoff game, at the New England Patriots on Sunday, with the pressure on.

The Patriots, corning in from a bye week, loom as favorites in the American Football Conference (AFC) divisional round clash as they look to go one better than last season when they lost to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.

New England crushed Houston 42-14 in week 14, a result which knocked the Texans off their perch and started a slump which also affected Schaub.

Although the Texans beat the Indianapolis Colts in week 15, they ended the regular season with successive losses and then were far from convincing in the 19-13 wild-card round win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Schaub has thrown just one touchdown in those four games and has made three interceptions and given up 10 sacks.

The intense atmosphere of a road game in the playoffs will test all of the 31-year-old's character.

"I think he will be ready," said Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson.

"He's working his butt off like he's done every week. I think just getting his first (playoff) win probably got a monkey off his back because that is something people talked about," he said.   Continued...