Dan Shaughnessy

Patriots-Texans was a laugher from start to finish

Shane Vereen hauled in a 33-yard pass and beat Barrett Ruud into the end zone for the Patriots’ final touchdown.

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The Patriots took care of the Texans, 41-28, in the first de facto preseason playoff game in NFL history to move on to the AFC Championship game.

Shane Vereen opened up a 17-3 lead for the Patriots after scoring on an 8-yard reception. Vereen, who had four TDs in the regular season, had three against Houston Sunday.

Patriots 41, Texans 28

Patriots beat Texans, face Ravens in AFC title game

The Patriots advanced to the AFC Championship game for the 7th time of the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era after dispatching the Texans, 41-28.

Wes Welker, who finished with eight catches for 131 yards, hauls in a 47-yarder from Tom Brady in the second quarter.

Christopher L. Gasper

Real playoffs start next week for Patriots

The Patriots will need a better effort than they had against the Texans to beat a Ravens team that is Super Bowl contender varsity.

Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich dropped into coverage and picked off Matt Schaub’s throw intended for James Casey in the third quarter.

on football

Rob Ninkovich’s clutch INT slowed down the Texans

With his third-quarter interception against Houston, the defensive end kept the Patriots in control of the game.

Mohegan Sun Hotel and Casino in Uncasville, Conn. Owners will apply to build a resort in Palmer, Mass.

Mohegan Sun set to submit Mass. casino bid

The Conn. casino’s owners have found a new financial backer and will apply to the state’s gambling commission to build a gambling resort in Palmer.

Victor Gomes got the flu vaccine in Dorchester last week.

Boston’s lower-income areas bear brunt of flu

The illness appears to be exacting an especially heavy toll on three neighborhoods — Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan.

Boston-area colleges bracing for students’ return

As thousands of students return for the spring semester, university officials are taking preventive measures to avoid further outbreaks of influenza.

Aaron Swartz was to go on trial in April.

MIT will investigate its role in Aaron Swartz case

MIT will launch a “thorough analysis” of the school’s involvement in the federal hacking case against Swartz, who committed suicide Friday.

Ben Affleck took the best director trophy at last night’s Golden Globe Awards for “Argo.”

Golden Globe Awards

‘Argo,’ ‘Les Miz’ big winners at the Golden Globes

Ben Affleck’s “Argo” took best drama and best director and “Les Misérables” scored big with three awards, while the TV winners were largely an echo of last year’s Emmys.