PatsTexans Stat Pack

976583.jpg

PatsTexans Stat Pack

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I love numbers. Random numbers. Stupid numbers. And in anticipation of Sunday's game, the ESPN STATS & INFO blog has posted a collection of PatsTexans playoff tidbits that are right up my alley. "Literally."

Here are the aforementioned fun facts, complete with SRO commentary:

The Patriots beat the Texans 42-14 in Week 14 but, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, teams that lost to a team by at least 28 points in the regular season are 11-11 when playing that team in the playoffs. That list of losers includes the Patriots, who beat the Jets 45-3 in a regular season meeting but lost to them a few weeks later in the playoffs.

SRO: This is unbelievable, and certainly hammers home just how insignificant last month's victory was. To be honest, I would have been impressed if even six of the 22 teams had bounced back to win. But 50 percent? How is that even possible.

Tom Brady is 16-6 in 22 playoff starts (tied with Joe Montana for most wins by starting QB in playoff history). He is 6-6 in his past 12 playoff starts after starting 10-0 in his first 10 playoff starts.

SRO: The 6-6 record is scary, and makes the days of "10-0" feel like a lifetime ago. That being said, it's pretty cool that Brady has a chance to break the all-time wins record on Sunday. Also, in looking at his 16-6 lifetime playoff record, let's take a second to remember that Peyton Manning will take the field on Saturday with a career playoff record of 9-10.

Bill Belichick is 17-7 in the playoffs (tied for third-most wins by a head coach).

SRO: Tom Landry is the all-time leader with 20, so Belichick can tie him if the Pats win the Super Bowl. If the Pats merely make the Super Bowl, Belichick's two wins will be enough to tie Don Shula (19) for second place.

This is the fourth time the Patriots are a No. 2 seed. They won Super Bowl XXXIX in 2004, won Super Bowl XXXVI in 2001 and lost Super Bowl XXXI in 1996.

SRO: I wasn't aware of this but I like it when the Pats get the second seed, they get to the Super Bowl. Guaranteed. 100 percent. Like a Shaughnessy column.

The Texans lost their only other appearance in the divisional playoffs (2011 at Ravens).

SRO: Houston went down 17-0 in the first quarter of that game, and never recovered eventually losing 20-13. If the Pats can jump out to anywhere close to that kind of early lead, it will be lights out for the Texans. There are a few reasons why . . .

Texans running back Arian Foster has 425 rushing yards in three postseason games, the most ever by a player in his first three playoff games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

SRO: The first is Foster. The Pats held him to 46 yards on 15 carries back in Week 13. That was his fourth lowest yardage of the season. If New England can jump to a quick lead on Sunday, the Texans won't be able to focus as much on establishing Foster. And then . . .

Texans quarterback Matt Schaub has no touchdowns and three interceptions in his past 3 games. It's the first time he's gone three straight games without a touchdown pass since 2007.

SRO: They'll have to rely on Matt Schaub. And if you're the Patriots, that's exactly who you want to have the ball in his hands. I was shocked by how shaky and uncomfortable Schaub looked in the huddle on Saturday. And that was at home, in the first round, against an inferior opponent.

The Texans have lost two straight road games following a 6-game road winning streak to start the season.

SRO: And signs certainly point to them going home with No. 3.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

OFFSEASON

Celtics second in Larry Sanders’ Twitter poll for his next team

milwaukee-bucks-larry-sanders.jpg

Celtics second in Larry Sanders’ Twitter poll for his next team

Veteran forward Larry Sanders, who hasn’t played since December of 2014, has taken to Twitter to get feedback on “Which team do you believe will utilize my skills the best?”

So far, it’s his last team, the Milwaukee Bucks leading, with the Celtics edging the Cavaliers for second place.  

Sanders, 27, has been away from basketball after two drug-related suspensions and issues with anxiety and depression led him to accept a buyout from the Bucks.  The 6-11 Sanders was a solid rim protector. He averaged 1.8 blocks a game in his career. Could the Celtics, with an already crowded roster, take a flyer on him as a low-cost option? 
 

Hanley Ramirez named A.L. player of the week

red_sox_hanley_ramirez_072016.jpg

Hanley Ramirez named A.L. player of the week

After a power binge in which five of his seven hits were home runs, Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez has been named American League player of the week.

In six games, Ramirez batted .333 (7-for-21) with five homers, 12 RBI, six runs scored, a slugging percentage of 1.048 and OPS of 1.488. Three of the home runs came in one game, an 11-7 victory Wednesday night over the San Francisco Giants. 

For the season, Ramirez is hitting .282 with 13 homers, 60 RBI and an OPS of .821. 

Monday’s Red Sox-Tigers lineups: Betts back in right

red_sox_mookie_betts_02416.jpg

Monday’s Red Sox-Tigers lineups: Betts back in right

Mookie Betts returns to the Red Sox lineup tonight as they open a three-game series against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park.

Betts is in his customary lead-off spot and playing right field. He missed the past two games after leaving in the fifth inning on Friday night with soreness and swelling in his right knee. 

Left-hander Drew Pomeranz makes his second Red Sox start since being acquired in a trade with the San Diego Padres on July 14. Pomeranz lasted only three-plus innings in his first start for Boston, allowing five runs in a game the Red Sox held on to win 11-7 over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.

Justin Verlander (9-6, 3.74 ERA) starts for the Tigers.

The lineups:

TIGERS
Ian Kinsler 2B
Jose Iglesias SS
Miguel Cabrera 2B
Victor Martinez DH
Nick Castellanos 3B
Justin Upton LF
Mike Aviles RF
James McCann C
Andrew Romine CF

Justin Verlander RHP

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 3B
Sandy Leon C
Brock Holt LF

Drew Pomeranz LHP