HOUSTON TEXANS (9-3) at CINCINNATI BENGALS (7-5)
Sunday, 1:00 P.M. ET, CBS, Direct TV (707), Sirius (Hou 86, Cin 104)
The Texans designed an offense to beat Peyton Manning, but for years, could never did so. With QBs Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart lost for the season and ace wide-out Andre Johnson out for the game, the Texans rely on its top-ranked defense to keep games within reach of T.J. Yates and the ground game. The defense came through against the potent Falcons offense. Who knew?
The Bengals could not close the deal in Pittsburgh against a crippled Ben Roethlisberger. Time for soul searching as they go up against a defense just as tough as the Steelers.
What To Watch
Can the Texans really run and defend their way to a playoff run? Throwback football is supposed to be dead in the 21st-Century. Yet, that is all Houston has left after key injuries. Ben Tate and Arian Foster power Houston’s third-ranked rushing offense. They go up against Cincinnati’s sixth-ranked rushing defense. The Bengals’ three recent losses were to division rivals Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Last Sunday’s loss to the Steelers was particularly galling. They just looked over-matched against playoff-tested Pittsburgh and most every other team with a winning record. The Buffalo is the only quality team to lose to the Bengals. That loss came in Cinci. Home cooking will do wonders for the Bengals. Cincinnati is favored by 3.
Who Will Win
The Texans proved there is more to the team than Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson. That old school stuff is not supposed to work anymore in the Passing era. It can work against the Bengals as long as the Texans do not rely on Yates to win the game. HOUSTON