- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Interior defensive lineman Vince Wilfork was extraordinarily disruptive in New England's regular-season win against Houston.
For the rematch, in matchup graphics, we’re seeing right guard Ben Jones vs. Wilfork as a key matchup. But the rookie Jones will leave the field for some series with Brandon Brooks taking over. Brooks is also a rookie. He’s 15 or 20 pounds heavier than Jones.
“Vince Wilfork was a tremendous problem for Houston in the first game,” CBS analyst Phil Simms said in his preview of the game. “What will Houston’s plan be this week to maybe change Vince Wilfork’s production? What will Houston do on the defensive side? When you give up 42 points, you have to try something different. Because whatever they did last time, it didn’t work. That’s what NFL coaching is about. And that is why coaches are so important in the NFL. They have to change game plans in order to change the performance and thought process of all the athletes they’re asking to do these things.”
The Texans rely on lateral movement in their zone-blocking scheme, and they try to cut guys to the ground. By the fourth quarter, a big defensive lineman who’s been repeatedly cut to the ground can grow awfully tired.
Houston hopes they are able to wear Wilfork down.
“He’s extremely tough,” Texans left tackle Duane Brown said. “I had one encounter with him where I pulled inside and didn’t really get much movement. He’s a big guy, creates great leverage, very smart player, can read a lot of stuff.
“When running away from him, it can be very important to get him on the ground so he’s not able to pursue and get tackles for losses. They’ve got a very talented interior defensive line, and can rotate in a lot of big guys. If you’re able to run the ball effectively for the majority of the game, it’d be nice to wear them down a little bit. We weren’t able to get that accomplished in the last game.”