Post Written by: Steve Dooley IV
The Cincinnati Bengals are a dangerous group heading into Reliant Stadium on Sat. afternoon. Cincy has won 7 out of their last 8 and boast one of the best defenses in the playoffs. The Atkins’ lead group ranks 6th in total Defense while being ranked 8th in total points. Houston is on a tear of their own but in the opposite direction.
The Texans backed in the playoffs, losers of their last 3 of 4, find themselves playing their worst football of the season at the wrong time. Making their second straight appearance in the post-season the Texans look to get back on track this weekend. Houston fell out the top spot and all the way to third on closing weekend to set up their second straight meeting vs the Bengals on Wild Card Weekend.
Houston’s has the talent with both offensive and defensive units ranked in the top ten in yards and points. They simply have mental issues that are holding them back. The unknown of a deep playoff run, an inconsistent QB in big games and the let down of giving up home-field advantage may hunt this team too much during this match up. This Cincinnati ball club is much different in the maturity department than the 2011 version of itself that got swept last year by the Texans.
Dalton and Green have continued to develop their amazing repore after a stellar rookie campaign. The young duo has already connected for 162 completions, 2407 yards and 18 scores in two years. Green saw improvements in all three categories with 32 more receptions, nearly 300 extra yards and posted 4 more TDs than his rookie year totals.
As improved as the Bengals may be, Dalton’s maturation is the key to this team excelling in post-season. He is having a better season than his first but still may not be ready to shoulder the load in a playoff game. Cincy’s offense has struggled of late with Green-Ellis’ health being a concern for this match up. The running game has slacked off in recent weeks putting more pressure on Dalton and the defense.
As much as I want to take the Bengals, I can’t. The lack of run game in recent weeks is too much to over look. I do have more faith in Dalton than Schaub if he has a chance to win at the end, but for Schaub it’s win or lose your job so I’ll give the Texans the edge. Houston’s struggles will come to an end in front of a friendly crowd, at least for a week.
TEXANS 27 BENGALS 17
Viewing Note: This game features the best two Defensive Tackles in the NFL with Geno Atkins and J. J. Watt. Atkins and Watt combined for 33 sacks between the two of them. Watt came just short of breaking the single season record.