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The Boston Globe

Sports

Dan Shaughnessy

No offense, but the Texans simply can’t win

Arian Foster and the Patriots will be back in Foxborough on Sunday.

Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

Arian Foster and the Patriots will be back in Foxborough on Sunday.

My eyes are square. I’ve been watching All-22 film since Monday. I’m doing everything I can to make a case for the Houston Texans Sunday in Foxborough.

I hung out with Gresh and Zo and learned about zero sets, wham blocks, rolled coverage, trail technique, and inside-out coverage. Cover-2 is my life.

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I forced myself to watch reruns of a clown show called “Quick Slants.” I memorized the roster of the Texans, even the guys on injured reserve. I think I can predict Gary Kubiak’s seven inactives for Sunday.

As the ultimate sign of respect, I plan to change my column avatar to an image of Arian Foster.

I’ve read all the transcripts from Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s press conferences. I’m aware that New England’s coach believes the 2012-13 Houston Texans are a lot like the 1972 Dolphins and the 1985 Bears.

I have duly noted that the Broncos at home against the Ravens are as big a favorite as the Patriots are vs. the Texans at Gillette Stadium.

I am doing my best to take this game seriously. I have retrieved my maroon varsity letter sweater from Groton High School so I can march shoulder-to-shoulder with the Texans when they get off the bus Sunday.

And nothing works. No matter how much I study and prepare, I cannot come up with a scenario that has the Houston Texans defeating the New England Patriots Sunday night.

OK, maybe it won’t be 73-0, or even 42-14 this time. I suppose the Texans could be competitive. Maybe they’ll even cover.

But they cannot win. Everyone knows this is true.

Seriously. Have you found anyone outside the 713 area code who believes the Texans will win? Across the country, expectations for this game are minimal. Even most of the Houston fans are content to settle for “we won’t get blown out this time.’’

Ever notice those cheesy car dealer prediction pages in most newspapers in cities with NFL franchises? The car dealers always pick the local team to win. Buddy Garritys, one and all. It would be bad for business to pick against the hometown team. But this weekend, I’m betting some of the Houston car dealers are going with New England. It just makes too much sense from a football perspective.

I read Shalise Manza Young’s insightful analysis of the Patriots’ recent history against Wade Phillips’s defenses and came away even more convinced that the Texans have no chance. Beatdown after beatdown. Belichick is in Phillips’s head the way Kevin Garnett is in Carmelo Anthony’s. Manza Young called it “the Norv Turner Effect.’’

This cannot be a good thing for the visitors.

That said, can’t we all get along? It’s only a football game.

This has been an emotional week for the good folks of Houston. They apparently felt disrespected when it was noted that the Texans are frauds who have no chance to beat the Patriots. A couple of references to “tomato cans” got everybody all excited (please don’t tell them I didn’t vote for Craig Biggio or Jeff Bagwell). Next thing you know, a full-blown media war broke out.

No need for that, people. Let’s cease and desist with the “you’re fat — you’re ugly!’’ stuff. This need not be personal. I like tomato soup. I even like Houston more than most travelers. I’ve been to Roger Clemens’s Spring Woods High School. I watched “Urban Cowboy” and “Apollo 13” numerous times. I’m one of the few fans who know that “Tin Cup” was shot in Houston.

We have fond memories of Super Bowl XXXVIII in February of 2004. Patriot Nation had a wonderful time when Houston served as the Super Bowl’s host city. Reliant Stadium is a terrific facility with great sightlines.

I even feel safe saying that Bostonians have no hard feelings left over from the 1986 NBA Finals when Ralph Sampson attacked Jerry Sichting.

No more cheap shots or disrespect from me. From now on, when I write about the Texans, it’s going to sound like Brent Musburger talking about AJ McCarron’s girlfriend.

The Grateful Dead had it right in “Truckin’.’’

“Houston, too close to New Orleans.”

Having these wide-eyed, not-ready-for-prime-time Texans here this weekend moves the Patriots ever closer to Super Bowl XLVII Feb. 3 at the Superdome.

Let the record state that we like our friends from the Southwest and we like the Houston Texans.

But they have zero chance to beat the Patriots.

Dan Shaughnessy can be reached at dshaughnessy @globe.com.
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