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NFL Playoffs Capsule-Texans at Patriots

NFL Playoffs Capsule-Texans at Patriots

HOUSTON (13-4) At NEW ENGLAND (12-4)

Sunday, 4:30 p.m. ET, CBS

OPENING LINE - Patriots by 9 1/2

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Houston 10-7; New England 9-7

SERIES RECORD - Patriots lead 3-1

AP PRO32 RANKING - Texans No. 8; Patriots No. 2

LAST MEETING - Patriots beat Texans 42-14, Dec. 10, 2012

LAST WEEK - Texans beat Bengals 19-13; Patriots had bye.

TEXANS OFFENSE - OVERALL (7), RUSH (8), PASS (11)

TEXANS DEFENSE - OVERALL (7), RUSH (7), PASS (16)

PATRIOTS OFFENSE - OVERALL (1), RUSH (7), PASS (4)

PATRIOTS DEFENSE - OVERALL (25), RUSH (9), PASS (29)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - Teams meet for first time in playoffs after four regular-season games since Texans entered NFL in 2002. ... Patriots are AFC East champs and earned No. 2 seed by beating Miami 28-0 in regular-season finale after AFC South champion Texans lost to Indianapolis 28-16, dropping Houston to No. 3 seed and costing it a bye. ...Texans and Patriots allowed same number of points, 20.7 per game. Patriots led NFL in scoring with 34.8 average, Texans eighth with 26. ... Houston is in playoffs second straight season after missing them in first nine. ... Texans lost three of last four regular-season games, starting against Patriots when Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes. They barely edged Bengals despite an advantage of 420 to 198 yards and a time of possession of 38:49 compared to 21:11. ... Texans RB Arian Foster's 425 yards are most in first three playoff games by any player in NFL history. His 140 yards in wild-card win over Cincinnati made him only player with at least 100 yards rushing in each of first three playoff games. ... QB Matt Schaub threw for more than 4,000 yards for third time in four seasons. In last five games, starting with loss to New England, he's thrown one touchdown pass and four interceptions. ... Schaub completed 350 passes, Foster ran 351 times. ... WR Andre Johnson led AFC with 1,598 yards receiving on 112 catches, had eight receptions for 95 yards against Patriots. He made four for 62 against Bengals. ... Backup TE Garrett Graham, sidelined in first game against Patriots, should play after making three catches, two for first downs, against Cincinnati. LB Brooks Reed and RT Derek Newton also should play after missing earlier meeting. Both played in wild-card game. ... DE J.J. Watt led NFL with club-record 20 1-2 sacks and is only player with at least 15 sacks and 15 passes defensed in same season. ... Brady needs one win to break tie with Joe Montana for most victories in postseason by a quarterback. It would be Brady's 17th. ... Brady is 6-6 in last 12 playoff games after starting 10-0. ... Coach Bill Belichick's next postseason win also would be his 17th, moving him into third place ahead of Joe Gibbs. Tom Landry has 20 and Don Shula 19. ... Patriots' four losses were by total margin of 11 points. ... TEs Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, both sidelined for extended stretches, expected to play together for just sixth time this season. Gronkowski has 55 catches in 11 games, Hernandez 51 in 10 with two touchdown catches in win over Texans. ... WR Wes Welker tied for second in NFL with 118 catches, leads league over past six seasons with 672. ... RB Stevan Ridley had career-high 1,263 yards rushing in second season, seventh in league and one spot behind Foster's 1,424. Ridley's 84 first downs second to Foster's 88 in AFC. ... Patriots led NFL with plus-25 turnover differential, Texans seventh in NFL and second in AFC with plus-12. ... DT Vince Wilfork and DE Rob Ninkovich tied for second in NFL with four fumble recoveries. ... DB Devin McCourty tied for seventh in league with five interceptions, including one against Texans in end zone. ... Patriots DE Chandler Jones tied with Texans LB Whitney Mercilus for first among AFC rookies with six sacks.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

The Capitals are the Eastern Conference Champions!

After dispatching Tampa Bay in Game 7, the Caps claimed the conference crown for just the second time in franchise history. But they're not done yet. Now it's on to Vegas to face the Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps' win over the Lightning and look ahead to the matchup with the Knights.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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