The Texans are hoping to maintain sole possession of the AFC South lead as they host the Patriots in a battle of playoff contenders on “Sunday Night Football” in Week 13.

After the Titans beat the Colts on Sunday afternoon, Houston enters its matchup against New England just a half-game up on Tennessee. The Texans and Titans play twice over the final three weeks of the season in what figures to be a competitive divisional race.

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The Patriots, meanwhile, sit comfortably atop the AFC East standings, but a loss would cause New England to fall from the No. 1 seed in the playoff picture. Baltimore, which defeated New England in November, has ripped off eight consecutive wins to keep pace with the reigning Super Bowl champions.

As for Sunday, the Texans will have to protect Deshaun Watson from a New England defense that leads the league in points allowed (10.6 points per game) and is sixth in percentage of quarterback pressures (27.1 percent). Despite the strong play this season from Watson, Houston’s offensive line ranks 23rd in sack percentage (8.3 percent). If Watson can settle in against the intimidating Patriots defense, the Texans could string together a statement win. 

Sporting News is tracking live updates and highlights of Patriots vs. Texans.

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Patriots vs. Texans score

  1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q F
Patriots 3 0      
Texans 7 7      

Patriots vs. Texans scoring plays

First quarter

7:07 — Kai Forbath 23-yard field goal (Patriots 3-0)

0:38 — Duke Johnson 14-yard reception from Deshaun Watson (Texans 7-3)

Second quarter

6:26 — Darren Fells 13-yard reception from Deshaun Watson (Texans 14-3)

Patriots vs. Texans updates, highlights

(All times ET)

9:30 p.m.: Texans go three-and-out and the Patriots use their first timeout with 1:10 remaining until halftime. 

9:23 p.m.: Brady is unable to shake free from the Texans pass rush and goes down at the Patriots 48. New England has to punt after crossing midfield. 

9:14 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, TEXANS. Watson runs a play-fake and then dumps it off to Darren Fells for an easy 13-yard touchdown completion. Texans 14, Patriots 3.

9:12 p.m.: Watson completes it to Jordan Akins who breaks a tackle and gets to the Patriots 36 for a 19-yard gain. 

9:02 p.m.: The Patriots are unable to get much going on their next drive and have to punt after five plays. 

End of first quarter: Texans 7, Patriots 3

8:51 p.m.: TOUCHDOWN, TEXANS. Watson moves out of the pocket on third down and hits Duke Johnson underneath, who scampers into the end zone for an untouched score. Texans 7, Patriots 3.

8:49 p.m.: Tom Brady’s third-down pass attempt is jumped and picked off by Bradley Roby and taken to the Patriots 6. An unsportsmanlike penalty costs the Texans 15 yards, though, after Roby took off his helmet. 

8:44 p.m.: Watson goes down on a sack by Kyle Van Noy to kill what looked like a promising drive. Texans will punt again. 

8:36 p.m.: FIELD GOAL, PATRIOTS. New Patriots kicker Kai Forbath hits a 23-yard field goal to wrap a 14-play drive. New England established the run on its first drive, handing it off six times to Sony Michel. Patriots 3, Texans 0.

8:30 p.m.: Julian Edelman has a pair of first-down grabs to place the Patriots in Texans territory at the Houston 42. 

8:26 p.m.: Dont’a Hightower forces pressure on Watson on a third-down pass attempt and the Texans quickly go three-and-out on the game’s opening drive. 

8:23 p.m.: The Patriots kick off and we are underway from NRG Stadium. Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense will set up from their own 25. 

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