Bengals vs. Texans: 3 Matchups to Watch

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Nov 5, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackie Geno Atkins (97) sacks Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) during an NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap vs. Texans O-Line

Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap have been on a tear this season, bringing down opposing quarterbacks a combined 14.5 times this season. Dunlap already surpassed his 2014 sack total (eight) in the first half of the 2015 season, and he’s on pace to bring down quarterbacks 17 times this season. While Atkins only has six sacks, his sack total is still the highest among all defensive tackles.

Teaming up Atkins and Dunlap with Michael Johnson and Domata Peko has helped the Bengals’ defensive line demolish opposing quarterbacks in the 2015 season.

Facing a Texans offensive line that has struggled, giving up 17 sacks in eight games, the Bengals’ defensive line could wreak havoc. Cincinnati’s defensive line sacked Johnny Manziel three times last week, and Michael Johnson drilled Manziel with one of the biggest hits of the week.

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The Bengals’ defense has sacked opposing quarterbacks multiple times in all but one game this season (

Cincy’s Week 2 win in Baltimore

), and it has dumped opposing quarterbacks as many as four-to-five times in three games this season. Cincinnati has sacked opposing quarterbacks three times in each of its last two games, so

Brian Hoyer

could be running for his life all game long.

While Derek Newton has held up fairly well at right tackle for the Houston Texans (he’ll line up opposite Carlos Dunlap), the Texans’ interior line has been a disaster in 2015.

Since most of Dunlap’s sacks have come as a result of the offensive line compensating for Geno Atkins’ disruption, Dunlap could easily tack on a sack or two this week. He’s only a sack behind league leader Chandler Jones, so a big game could put Dunlap back in the lead of the race to finish the season with the most sacks of any NFL defensemen.

And because Houston’s interior line is a mess, Geno Atkins could easily bring down Hoyer a few times himself. It will be fun to watch Atkins blow by the Texans’ offensive line, even if he doesn’t end up bringing down the quarterback himself.

Trying to keep Atkins and Dunlap in check is easier said than done; it’s going to be a long night for Houston’s offensive line.

Next: A.J. Green vs. Jonathan Joseph