Texans at Patriots

8:30 p.m., ESPN.

Line: Patriots by 3.

The skinny: Stevan Ridley and the revived New England ground game have brought balance to a Patriots offense that relied more heavily on quarterback Tom Brady in recent years.

Ridley, in his second pro season, is third in the AFC with 1,010 yards rushing going into Monday night's game between the Texans (11-1) and the Patriots (9-3).

Houston has the best record in the AFC and has clinched a playoff berth. New England has locked up the AFC East title.

Brady has thrown 25 touchdown passes and just four interceptions, and wide receiver Wes Welker leads the NFL with 92 receptions.

Balance also is a strong point for the Texans with Arian Foster, the AFC's leading rusher with 1,102 yards and 15 touchdowns, and Andre Johnson, seventh in the NFL with 74 catches.

- Associated Press

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