By Martin Iheke
It is a rematch of last year’s wild card playoff game when the Houston Texans beat the Cincinnati Bengals at home, 31-10, to win the franchise’s first ever playoff game. The Texans did it without starting quarterback, Matt Schaub, who was injured. This time they will have him, but this will be his first playoff game. The Texans come into the playoffs having lost three of their last four games and were one win away from locking up home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. For the Bengals, they needed to win their last three games to get in making it the first time in thirty years they have made the playoffs in consecutive seasons.
Both teams are coming into this game with one of the better defenses in the league, especially against the run. The Bengals are 8th in the league against the run at 100.6 yards and 10th in the league against the pass at 216.9 yards. The Texans are 7th in the league against the run at 98.6 yards, but are average against the pass at 228.5 yards which puts them at 16th overall. This is all according to ESPN.com. Offensively, the slight edge would go to the Texans in the rushing department as they are 7th in the league at 134.7 yards thanks mostly to their outstanding running back, Arian Foster according to ESPN.com. This will be something the Bengals will have to stop if they have any chance of winning this game. Foster tore them up in last year’s playoff game and will be looking to do the same again.
Andy Dalton, starting quarterback for the Bengals, will also have to step up. He was not very good in the playoff game last year as well their best wide receiver, A.J. Green. I am expecting a close, low-scoring game between these two teams. I like the way the Bengals are playing, overall, especially on defense while the Texans have not. If the Bengals can slow down Foster and not turn the ball over, I like their chances of winning the game. If not, I expect another blow out by the Texans. Prediction: Texans 20, Bengals 17.
Watch It: Sat. Jan. 5 3:30PM NBC