When: Saturday, Jan. 5, 4:30 p.m.
Where: Reliant Stadium
The Cincinnati Bengals visit the Houston Texans for the second year in a row, during postseason play. The Bengals earned the AFC wildcard with a (10-6) record, and won their remaining three games entering the playoffs. Cincinnati has only lost twice since November, and they have won six games on the road.
Houston started off the season with dominating performances, but the Texans have tailed off down the stretch. They lost three out of their last four games, and squandered away home field advantage. Now the Texans have to play in the Wildcard round to advance.
The Bengals are lead by a pair of young studs on the offensive end. Quarterback, Andy Dalton is completing 62 percent of his passes, and has amassed 27 touchdowns through the air. His go to receiver, A.J. Green has over 1300 yards receiving, with 11 touchdowns. This combination must win at least two or three deep balls against the Texans’ secondary. However, BenJarvus Green-Ellis must contribute mightily in the running game. Cincinnati has to keep the defensive line guessing throughout the game.
The defense has been dominating at times, and they must continue, if they are to win a playoff game. The more pressure the Bengals can get on Matt Schaub, the better their defense will play overall. If the Texans can make plays within the passing game, it will open up room for Arian Foster.
Matt Schaub has thrown for over 4000 yards, but this is the part of the season he and the offense has been waiting for. Arian Foster must be electrifying on Saturday in both facets of the offense. He needs to be a factor in the passing game as well as the running game. Houston should expect the Bengals to try and take Andre Johnson out of the game. They will want to get off to a nice offensive start.
The defense can change the game for Houston. Last year, J.J. Watt intercepted a pass at the line of scrimmage and returned it for a touchdown. If Houston gets more plays like that, they’ll be advancing to the next round. If the defensive line isn’t a big factor on Saturday, the Texans are likely packing their bags for the winter.
The team that makes the most momentum plays will be set to win the game. No matter how the scoring goes, the game will be close. If one offense gets into an early rhythm, the opponent will open up and try to score as well. Whichever team handles the pressure coming out of halftime will have the advantage. Andre Johnson only has four touchdowns this season. The Texans could use him to have a breakout scoring game. Home teams have one this type of game in last year’s postseason. Look for Houston to continue the trend.
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