Jan 5, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; General view of the line of scrimmage during a game between the Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter of the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
The Cincinnati Bengals continue their road trip in Houston, TX, where they will face the Houston Texans. A place that has not been friendly to the Bengals over two of the last three playoff appearances. Luckily for the Bengals, this is not the postseason and the regular season brings more hope for Bengals organization and fans to make the third time the charm against JJ Watt and this Texans team.
Bengals Keys to the Game:
The Bengals offensive line will have the most daunting task in this game. They must control JJ Watt and his protégé Jadeveon Clowney in their quest to take down Andy Dalton. They will also be looking to establish the run game early to establish an opportunity to take advantage of the passing game late, like they did in New Orleans in Week 11.
The defense will have to stop a rookie QB in Ryan Mallet that has one great game under his belt. They will need to pressure him, force untimely mistakes, and stop Arian Foster, whose return is still questionable. If the defense can replicate its success from last week, this game will be close from start to finish.
Texans Keys to the Game:
The offense will need to find a way to replicate their results from the Browns game in week 11 as well. Ryan Mallett showed a strong presence, even with the Texans missing lead running back Arian Foster. They will need to lean on leadership on the line against a strong Bengals defense to keep Mallett upright.
The defense will need JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney to get pressure on Andy Dalton from the outside. They must win battles upfront and control screen passes. If they can get the Bengals out of balance, then this game should be theirs to win or lose.
The Bengals are familiar to JJ Watt and what he is capable of. It will be a matter of containing him, not stopping him, in order to give Dalton time. If they can do that, the Bengals will get their revenge and push the Texans further out of playoff contention. Bengals win 27-24.