How good is the AFC North? That’s a statement framed as a question. The AFC-N placed three teams in the playoffs and its wildcard representative is giving a good account of themselves.
The Cincinnati Bengals roared into Reliant Stadium for an evenly matched game with AFC South champion Houston Texans. TGS writers favored the Texans at home by a vote of 4-3. Cincinnati dominates the game, but trails at the half after JJ Watts’ late second quarter Pick-6 of an Andy Dalton pass to put the Texans ahead 17-10 at the half.
The Texans needed the play. The Bengals dominated first half possession by five minutes and outgained the Texans in the air. The game with two rookie quarterbacks that nobody could predict featured Watts’ play that nobody could expect. Tony Dungy insisted during the halftime show that the interception was a great play by Watt, who speared the ball in flight, rather than a quarterback mistake by Dalton.
Dalton is a NFL Rookie of the Year candidate. His Bengals have to win one or two playoff games for hims to surpass Carolina’s Cam Newton who is all but destined to win.
The NFL could not have staged a better start to Wildcard Weekend. The game remains unpredictable despite the statistical imbalance towards Cincinnati. The pregame introduction of Bum Phillips, the longtime coach of the old Houston Oilers and father of Texans DC Wade, was a nice, sentimental touch.
Note to Mike Mayock and the other TV announcers, it’s ADAM…ADAM Jones. Pacman-child is so long gone.