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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Prediction: CIN 13, HOU 23

Line : HOU by 3 / OU = 38.5

The 9-7 Bengals head into an actual playoff game while led by a rookie quarterback and wide receiver. Have to admit that was one successful draft. The Bengals are 5-3 on the road and head to play the 10-6 Texans who are 5-3 at home but on a three game losing streak. This is a real coin flip game. The Bengals have literally no experience in the playoffs but neither do the Texans who apparently have finally felt the pinch of losing Matt Schaub. But you have to like getting Andre Johnson back.

Perhaps most notable of all - the Texans won 20-19 in Cincinnati just four weeks ago.

On the plus side, we should be treated to 25 more replays of when Jerome Simpson flipped over the top of the defender for a score.

Cincinnati Bengals
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @CLE 27-17 10 PIT 17-24
2 @DEN 22-24 11 @BAL 24-31
3 SF 8-13 12 CLE 23-20
4 BUF 23-20 13 @PIT 7-35
5 @JAC 30-20 14 HOU 19-20
6 IND 27-17 15 @STL 20-13
7 Bye - 16 ARI 23-16
8 @SEA 34-12 17 BAL 16-24
9 @TEN 24-17      
Bengals Report | Statistics | Roster
CINCINNATI at HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton - - 180,1
RB Cedric Benson 50 - -
TE Jermaine Gresham - 30 -
WR A.J. Green - 70 -
WR Jerome Simpson - 40,1 -
WR Andrew Hawkins - 30 -
PK Mike Nugent 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The season has already been a wild success considering there were nearly no expectations of this team in a rebuilding year with so many young players. But the defense has been outstanding keeping the opponents to 20 points or less in 12 games and the offense looked as sharp as it has in a few years. There's plenty here to grow on and a few areas that still require work. The only shame is that the rookies do not comprehend just how well they have done this year.

QUARTERBACK: While Andy Dalton won't be the Offensive Rookie of the Year, he might have been in most any other season. Dalton passed for 3398 yards and 20 touchdowns against just 13 interceptions. Consider Peyton Manning has a rookie only had 3739 yards, 26 touchdowns and 28 interceptions on a more established team.

Dalton had been less productive in the last five games with only four touchdowns total and only once throwing for more than 189 yards. That was from the last meeting with the Texans when he only had one touchdown pass in the home game.

RUNNING BACKS: Cedric Benson has been little more than a mediocre back this year with only six touchdowns and with only three games over 100 yards rushing - two were against the Browns of course. Benson ran for a higher than normal 91 yards on 21 carries in the last meeting though he did not score.

But no runner has gained more than 63 yards in Houston and Benson does not travel well anyway. No reason to expect more than marginal yardage and no score.

WIDE RECEIVERS: A.J. Green has been the best rookie wideout this year with 65 catches for 1057 yards and seven touchdowns and he missed one game as well. Jerome Simpson had to deal with a Grand Jury and what will be offseason legal maneuverings to stay out of prison after a sizable amount of marijuana was found at his home. He ends with 725 yards and four scores on 50 catches and if nothing else will go down as the dude that flipped over the head of the defender and scored with a perfect landing. Green was held to 59 yards on five catches in the previous meeting with the Texans while Simpson scored once on his two catches for 38 yards.

The passing score will come to this unit and only Simpson and Green matter. This will be a tougher spot for them than at home but they should get a higher volume of throws.

TIGHT ENDS: Jermaine Gresham turned in three catches for 45 yards in the last meeting with the Texans but has only scored once in the last five weeks and rarely do so in road games. He's a marginal play at best.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 22 28 15 17 7 13
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 21 2 31 5 6 12

Houston Texans
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 34-7 10 @TB 37-9
2 @MIA 23-13 11 Bye -
3 @NO 33-40 12 @JAC 20-13
4 PIT 17-10 13 ATL 17-10
5 OAK 20-25 14 @CIN 20-19
6 @BAL 14-29 15 CAR 13-28
7 @TEN 41-7 16 @IND 16-19
8 JAC 24-14 17 TEN 22-23
9 CLE 30-12      
Texans Report | Statistics | Roster
HOUSTON vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Taylor Yates - - 220,1
RB Arian Foster 100,1 30 -
RB Ben Tate 30 10 -
TE Joel Dreesen - 20 -
TE Owen Daniels - 60 -
WR Andre' Johnson - 50,1 -
WR Kevin Walter - 20 -
WR Jacoby Jones - 20 -
PK Neil Rackers 3 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: It is troublesome that the Texans enter the playoffs with a three game losing streak and it was not even against top teams - IND, CAR and TEN. And two of those were home games. But the Texans have already beaten the Bengals in Cincinnati and should have a healthy Taylor Yates and Andre Johnson that should help. This is a new experience for the team but that should be plenty motivating.

QUARTERBACK: The Bengals were completely devoted to stopping Arian Foster last time and that meant Taylor Yates would pass for 300 yards and two touchdowns - both best marks in his young career. Yates dislocated a shoulder in week 17 but is reported t be okay to play and it was his non-throwing shoulder. Yates has already been successful against the Bengals but expect the running game to have a bigger role in this matchup. It will be interesting to see how much having Andre Johnson back changes the dynamics.

RUNNING BACKS: Arian Foster had a very uncharacteristic 41 yards on 15 carries in Cincinnati and he did not score. That was his only scoreless game of the last nine weeks and was a huge variation from his normal 100 to 150 total yards and a score he has nearly every week.

Foster should be a lock for a score in this game against a defense that has allowed one or more rushing scores to most road opponents. There may not be enough left over to make Ben Tate have much fantasy value this week but Foster should bounce back from one of the very few down games he had all year.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The wideouts have been very quiet this season with Andre' Johnson missing almost the entire year but in the Cincy game, Kevin Walter scored once on his six catches for 76 yards and Jacoby Jones turned in three receptions for 39 yards. That was Walter's only score in the last 11 weeks.

Johnson was back last week when he caught two passes for 21 yards. This is a good spot for a score to Johnson though it would be the first from Yates. The yardage is not likely to be that much but a score should end up in this unit and that should favor Johnson getting back into his groove.

TIGHT ENDS: Owen Daniels had his best game of the year when he snagged seven passes for 100 yards in Cincy though Joel Dreesen ended up with the touchdown on his three catches for 22 yards. There was almost no rushing in that game and this week should see a much reduced need to throw the ball.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 21 2 31 5 6 12
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 6 16 12 12 5 5


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