Brock Osweiler and the Texans are confident and ready for Saturday night.
The Divisional Round playoff game in New England has them slated as underdogs to AFC's top-seeded Patriots. But the Texans' quarterback knows what he has to do.
"It goes back to protecting the football," Osweiler said. "You can't turn the ball over. You need to play smart."
Since the start of December, Houston's been much better with ball security. In five of the last six games, which includes last Saturday's Wild Card win over Oakland, they've been either even or positive when it comes to turnover differential, and they're plus-5 in that span. It's a stark contrast to the minus-7 they were for the 16-game regular season.
In the last game-and-a-half Osweiler's been on the field, head coach Bill O'Brien has seen some good positives when it comes to ball security.
"He's done a good job of understanding what the defense is showing him, the type of play that we have called – maybe it's a choice of two plays - and he's been able to get us in the right play," O'Brien said. "He's done a nice job taking care of the football, and he's thrown the ball accurately."
Osweiler's also been able to make things happen with his legs, as he's scored a touchdown in each of the last two weeks.
"If the route isn't open, he's been able to tuck it and run, get a first down that way, and that's how we play," offensive coordinator George Godsey said. "We play team football and if it's not there we're moving on to the next series if it may be, but protecting the ball is the number one key to every game especially at that position."
Right guard Jeff Allen said Osweiler's play has been refreshing since coming back in Week 17, and he's clearly having a lot of fun.
"I felt like he was free out there," Allen said. "Sometimes we forget because we are professionals and it's a job. But it's fun for us. That's why we play the game."
Osweiler and the Texans practice again on Thursday, fly to New England on Friday and will face the Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 3/2/2021)