FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - A regular-season rout can be a poor predictor of the postseason rematch.
Coach Bill Belichick has another chance to remind his New England Patriots of that less than a month after their 42-14 romp that shoved the Houston Texans into their late-season plunge.
The stakes will be much higher when the Texans return Sunday to the field where they flopped. The winner of the divisional-round matchup goes to the AFC championship game.
"The game that we play now doesn't have much to do with the game we played before," Belichick said Sunday, one day after the Texans advanced with a 19-13 wild-card win over the Cincinnati Bengals
Two years ago, the Patriots beat the New York Jets 45-3 in the 12th game of the season. Just six weeks later, the Patriots had the NFL's best record but lost to the Jets 28-21 in a divisional game.
It's a history lesson Belichick is sure to review this week.
"I don't think it's anything that wasn't mentioned until that situation occurred, but it's an example we can point out," he said in a conference call during a break from preparing for the Texans. "We talked about that many times before, how other games don't have anything to do with this game. It stands on its own."
The Texans had the league's top mark when the ball was kicked off to start their game at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 10. But less than six minutes into the second quarter, they trailed 28-0 after Tom Brady's fourth touchdown pass.
Cardinals expect to talk
to Jay Gruden about job
TEMPE - The Arizona Cardinals expect to speak in the coming week with Jay Gruden about their vacant head coaching position.
The team Sunday confirmed plans to interview the Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator, younger brother of former Oakland and Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden.
The Cardinals also confirmed that Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was interviewed in Denver on Saturday. McCoy was the second candidate known to have been interviewed by Cardinals president Michael Bidwill in his search for a replacement for Ken Whisenhunt, who was fired after six seasons.
Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton was interviewed last week. The team has received permission to speak with Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, but it's not known if any interview is scheduled.
Eagles continue search
PHILADELPHIA - The Eagles took their coaching search to Denver to interview Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Sunday after a lengthy meeting with Oregon coach Chip Kelly a night earlier in Arizona.
The Eagles only confirmed their meeting with Kelly after it ended.
Kelly also met with Buffalo after his first meeting with Cleveland.
Meanwhile, the Eagles didn't wait around. Owner Jeffrey Lurie, general manager Howie Roseman and team president Don Smolenski left Arizona for Denver on Sunday to continue the search.