- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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There are plenty of great matchups to watch when the Houston Texans (11-1) travel to play the New England Patriots (9-3) on "Monday Night Football." But one to really keep an eye on will be the battle between newly acquired Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib against Texans five-time Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson.
The Patriots acquired Talib during the season for big games like this. New England traded a future draft pick with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the talented but troubled cornerback. Talib has the size and speed to play compete with top-level receivers and has allowed New England the freedom to play more man-to-man defense. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Patriots have blitzed 13 percent more since inserting Talib in the starting lineup.
Johnson has been on a tear lately. He has 28 receptions for 517 yards and a touchdown in his last three games. Johnson enters Monday’s huge matchup with New England with a lot of momentum.
Expect the Patriots to put Talib on Johnson a lot in this game. Sometimes it will be with help over the top and others will be just one-on-one.
The winner of this battle certainly will have a lot of say in which team wins this game.
13hEric D. Williams