6 reasons why the New England Patriots won in Week 14

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Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

2. Front seven play

Going into this game, everyone and their mother was talking about J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney and how lethal the Texans’ front seven is, but it turned out that the Patriots’ defense was the better unit on Sunday night.

Brian Hoyer was hit 10 times, including six sacks and two forced fumbles. Two of those sacks and both of the forced fumbles were a result of Jabaal Sheard growing into his own as a Patriot; Sheard was arguably the best player on the Patriots’ defense last night.

On the interior of the defensive line, Malcom Brown and Akiem Hicks played lights-out, as Brown recovered one of Sheard’s forced fumbles and Hicks recorded a pair of sacks and three hits on Hoyer.

Jamie Collins was his normal self, maybe even a bit faster now that he’s a few pounds lighter. Collins flew around the field last night, much like his fellow linebacker, Jerod Mayo. After Jonathan Freeny exited the game, Mayo played years younger and snuffed out several Texans plays at the point of attack.

Next: 1. Double-teaming Watt, Hopkins