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What will be the key to the game?

12.10.12 at 5:46 pm ET

FOXBORO — The 11-1 Texans can all but clinch a first-round bye and close in on a No. 1 seed in the AFC while the 9-3 Patriots can take a huge step toward locking up a first-round bye with a victory on Monday night football.

The Patriots have the No. 1 offense in the NFL and have scored at least 20 points in 11 of their 12 games this season.

The Texans have NFL defensive player of the year favorite J.J. Watt, who enters with 16.5 sacks, second to Aldon Smith.

In addition to Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, the Patriots will have another running back weapon at their disposal, as Brandon Bolden was added to the 53-man active roster. He hasn’t played since injuring his knee on Oct. 14 and is coming off a four-game suspension for violation of the NFL PED policy.

So many variables. What will be the biggest?

What will be the key to the game?

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