HOUSTON (AP) -- The first time Houston faced the Patriots, top cornerback Johnathan Joseph played while still struggling to get healthy, and outside linebacker Brooks Reed sat out with an injury.
That game turned into an embarrassing 42-14 loss to New England. Now both are back to full strength, and the Texans believe that makes their defense much stronger this time around.
Joseph is excited to get another crack at the Patriots since he's feeling better. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips thinks Reed adds to the "mental toughness overall" of the unit.
The Texans will need that against a team that averaged an NFL-best 427.9 yards and 34.8 points in the regular season.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL