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Patriots stake their claim as AFC's best

New England dismantles 11-1 Texans in Monday night mashing. Terry McCormick

Print This December 11, 2012, 08:40 AM EST

It was billed as a game between the best the AFC had to offer, but after it was over, it looked to be more of the same in the conference with the New England Patriots' 42-14 blasting of the Houston Texans.

The Texans came into Foxboro at 11-1 with the best record in the NFL, but were beaten and battered by Tom Brady, who threw four touchdown passes in the rout.

"They just taught us how to play championship football,” linebacker Bradie James told the Houston Chronicle.

Indeed, while the game might have been the biggest regular season game in the Texans' 11-year history, it was just another stepping stone for the Patriots, who improved to 10-3.

If the Patriots aren't the best team in the AFC or the NFL, they are now at least in the conversation. Denver has won eight straight, but lost earlier this season to New England. The Patriots will get another big test this week when they face the San Francisco 49ers, a team many regard as the best in the NFC right now.

Follow me on Twitter @TerryMc13

Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com

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