For all the personnel shuffling the injury-plagued Patriots have done this season they've at least had continuity at quarterback. The offense struggled to start, but has come around.

Houston has not been so lucky.

Though the Texans defense is still anchored by J.J. Watt, and statistically the best in the league, the offense has been shaken up too much to hit any kind of stride. Quarterback Matt Schaub first lost his job for injury; once healthy, he stayed on the bench. Houston's brass decided Schaub's 8 touchdowns to 9 interceptions weren't enough to hand him the job back.

It is Case Keenum who will try his hand against New England this Sunday. Yes, the Case Keenum who went undrafted in 2012. The Case Keenum who was signed to back up the backup.

"He's been a real good decision maker. The defense hasn't had their hands on many balls," Bill Belichick noted Friday. "So he's got pretty good judgment, pretty good accuracy, he's athletic. They run a lot of bootlegs anyway, but he's athletic in the pocket, can get away from the rush and buy a little more time."

Keenum, who got his first start this year in Week 7, has not stopped Houston's bleeding, but has slowed it some. His decisions have certainly been better than Schaub's as Belichick pointed out; he's thrown just 2 picks to 8 touchdowns, and his last interception was off a bobbled ball his receiver should have caught. The Texans are still losing, but have lost the last five games by an average of just 3.8 points. They've also raised their average points per game from 11.3 in Weeks 3-6 to 18.6 in Weeks 7-12.

Incidental numbers for a team that's 2-9? Not really. These notes are all valuable to Belichick. He sees an offense that doesn't look all that dissimilar from the one that won Houston last season's AFC South title.