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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Bye Week

Prediction: HOU 13, CIN 27

The Texans continue their pace of loss-win-loss-win-loss but perhaps this week will break the string since the 2-3 Texans head up to play the Bengals who are one improbably tipped pass away from being 5-0 on the year. This can be a payback of sorts since the Texans won 35 - 6 when the Bengals visited in week 8 of last year.

Houston Texans (2-3)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 NYJ 7-24 -4.5 44
2 @TEN 34-31 +7 40.5
3 JAC 24-31 -4 46.5
4 OAK 29-6 -9.5 41
5 @ARI 21-28 +5.5 48
6 @CIN - +4.5 45
7 SF - - -
8 @BUF - - -
9 @IND - - -
10 BYE - - -
11 TEN - - -
12 IND - - -
13 @JAC - - -
14 SEA - - -
15 @STL - - -
16 @MIA - - -
17 NE - - -
HOU at CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     270,1
RB Steve Slaton 40 40  
TE Owen Daniels   50  
WR Andre' Johnson   70  
WR Kevin Walter   70,1  
WR Jacoby Jones   30  
PK Kris Brown 2 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: It's shaping up to be another disappointing season if the offense cannot find a rushing game soon and the defense doesn't improve. RG Mike Brisiel is going to the injured reserve where he can join the other starting guard Chester Pitts. That's no way to improve your running game and a good reason why giving it to Chris Brown up the middle doesn't mean much this year. The worse part of all of this is that the Texans are about to hit the meat of their schedule and still have three road games in the next four weeks before their week 10 bye. Matt Schaub better be warming up the arm.

Quarterback: So far there have been two Matt Schaubs at work. The one that has faced very good secondaries of the Jets and Raiders only had one touchdown and never more than 225 yards. The one that faced the softer secondaries of the Jags, Titans and Cardinals walked away with three games over 300 yards and nine touchdowns. Somewhat favorable too is that his best two games came away from Houston.

Schaub passed for 280 yards and three scores against the Bengals last year.

The 2009 version of the Bengals are all different. They have not allowed more than 276 passing yards and have given up exactly one passing touchdown every week. No matter what. Ben Roethlisberger and Derek Anderson both rushed in a score as well but the Bengals have been good against the pass and that includes playing in Green Bay and against the Steelers. This would be a step down for Schaub but on the road against a better team will depress his numbers. These are the Bengals. They take everyone very seriously.

Running Backs: By this point it is reasonable to abandon any hope that Steve Slaton is going to reprise his 2008 season. Even HC Gary Kubiak make mention of going to an all-pass attack though he later recanted. The running game here is one of the worst in the league and on the road neither Slaton or Chris Brown have gained more than 39 rushing yards. The loss of more offensive linemen spell even more gloom. Slaton is averaging 2.9 yards per carry but still matters as a receiver each week.

Brown remains the goal line back who only once has actually crossed over the white line. He had one score last week but never has any yardage and has no fantasy value.

Slaton rushed for 53 yards on 15 carries and 13 yards on two receptions versus the Bengals in 2008.

Wide Receivers: One of the oddities on this team is that the only good passing efforts came in the road games and that has more about opponent than venue. Andre Johnson scored twice and had over 100 yards in each of those matchups but has has not scored otherwise and remains about 70 yards per week. Jacoby Jones scored in two successive weeks but was held to a single catch last Sunday and never has much yardage. Kevin Walter is the biggest surprise since he had only scored once and had been around 40 yards in the last two weeks. He also missed the first two games so fantasy owners planning on using him have taken a beating.

Johnson had 11 receptions for 143 yards against the Bengals. Walter turned in two touchdowns and 70 yards on five catches in that game and even David Anderson scored a short touchdown.

The Bengals have allowed some decent yardage by wideouts this year and two have exceeded 100 yards but none have scored against them in the last three weeks. I like Walter to get a score here since the primary wideout has not fared well against the Bengals and it is the secondary player that has the most yardage and a score if any.

Tight Ends: Owen Daniels comes off his best game of the year with eight catches for 94 yards in Arizona and his two touchdowns rank second best on the team. He has always been good for 40+ yards each week and should have at least decent yardage this week.

Daniels only had 21 yards on three catches against the Bengals last year.

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 8 24 4 10 23 17
Preventing Fantasy Points    CIN 23 10 13 14 14 23

Cincinnati Bengals (4-1)
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DEN 7-12 -5 42.5
2 @GB 31-24 +9 42
3 PIT 23-20 +4.5 37
4 @CLE 23-20 -5.5 38
5 @BAL 17-14 +8.5 42
6 HOU - -4.5 45
7 CHI - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 BAL - - -
10 @PIT - - -
11 @OAK - - -
12 CLE - - -
13 DET - - -
14 @MIN - - -
15 @SD - - -
16 KC - - -
17 @NYJ - - -
CIN vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer     190,1
RB Cedric Benson 120,2 10  
WR Chris Henry   30  
WR Chad Ochocinco   80,1  
WR Laveranues Coles   20  
WR Andre Caldwell   40  
PK Shayne Graham 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Bengals may not win them all by much but they keep on winning. Taking down the visiting Steelers was a big enough feat but now the Bengals have won in Baltimore and are all alone atop the AFC North with effectively a two game lead over the rest. These next two home games will be ones that the Bengals can win and should they manage to do that they reach the week eight bye at a dizzy 6-1 record. Then the next two games decide their future with BAL and @PIT left to play. Let the Bengals win those games and they're gonna party like it's 1988.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer sprained his non-throwing thumb last week but it is not a factor and he never missed any plays last week because of it. He's now scored at least once in each of the last four games though his yardage was never more than 271 and that was in Baltimore. He is averaging 223 yards per week and with a rushing game to support him, there has not been a great need for anything more.

Ryan Fitzpatrick only threw for 155 yards in Houston last year while Palmer was still out.

The Texans have been average against the pass because every opponent just runs all over them instead. Expect a score and moderate yardage here from Palmer. It could be more but likely will not need to be. This is probably the softest matchup of the year for the Bengals so far.

Running Backs: It took years and two teams, but Cedric Benson is playing just like the #4 overall pick in the 2005 draft is supposed to play. Just disregard those other four seasons.

Benson just ran for 120 yards on 27 carries and scored in Baltimore as the first runner in 40 games to top the century mark against them. It was his second 100+ yard game of the year and his third touchdown. He has turned into the heavy-use back that the Bears thought they were buying back in 2005.

Benson only gained 49 yards on 13 carries in Houston last season. He added 20 yards on two catches.

The Texans are horrible against the run and would be ranked #32 were it not for the Raiders who cannot run and the Cardinals who will not run. The three previous games had rushers all scoring at least twice and topping 100 yards every time. Yes. start Benson this week. Trade for him if you can.

Wide Receivers: Chad OchoCinco continues to have a rebirth season and racked up 94 yards on seven catches in Baltimore last week. He has a team high three receiving scores and while he has not yet topped 100 yards, he has crested 89 yards three times. Laveranues Coles is almost completely invisible now and had his first game with no catches last Sunday. Andre Caldwell has played better as the #3 and has two scores to show for it. Chris Henry finally showed up in a box score last week when he converted three catches into 92 yards but he had been stuck at 36 yards or less each previous week.

No wideout had more than 54 yards in the 2008 meeting with the Texans.

Safest bet this week is that OchoCinco takes a score because he can but no wideout should have many yards because there is no need. The Bengals could get into rolling up the score potentially but likely will just let the rushing game take the win as have most of the Texans opponents.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 16 15 6 31 30 10
Preventing Fantasy Points    HOU 12 28 23 4 15 11

The Huddle
~ 2009 ~
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Bye Week
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