Bengals Gameday Preview: Week 10 vs. Texans

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Nov 23, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) runs with the ball against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

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Preview

The Cincinnati Bengals may have won last year’s matchup with the Texans 22-13, but they are still 1-3 against Houston in the Dalton era. Almost exactly a year later (last season’s matchup took place in Week 12), the Bengals will host the Texans on Monday Night Football, and while tonight’s game looks like as close to a sure win as you it get, this matchup could end up being a tough defensive battle.

J.J. Watt will lead the Texans into Paul Brown Stadium looking to spoil the Bengals’ perfect record. The Bengals offense, led by Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, continues to roll over opponents and looks to do the same against the Texans’ banged-up defense. The Texans will be without Jadeveon Clowney and Kareem Jackson on the defensive side of the ball. Clowney would have played a role as a pass-rusher and run-stopper; John Simon will likely be the next man up at outside linebacker. With Jackson out, Kevin Johnson and A.J. Buoy could end up in coverage on Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu.

Watt has been one of the NFL’s best defenders, tallying eight-and-a-half sacks and countless game-changing defensive plays. Middle linebacker Brian Cushing leads the Texans in solo and total tackles with 38 and 69, respectively. He is a key component to the Texans’ defense, as he is responsible for both stuffing the run and manning the middle of the field on defense. He could have his hands full with the Bengals’ high-flying offense, especially if he’s forced to try and contain Tyler Eifert, who leads all NFL players in receiving touchdowns, with nine.

The Bengals defense will look to expose the struggling Texans offense, led by Brian Hoyer. Despite the Texans’ struggles, Hoyer and backup quarterback T.J. Yates have a combined 4-0 record against Cincinnati. Hoyer will need to force-feed DeAndre Hopkins, who will be matched up against Adam Jones, but his better option might be throwing Nate Washington‘s way, as Washington will likely draw matchups with Dre Kirkpatrick. The Texans will need a big game from Alfred Blue, as the Bengals’ run-defense is their biggest weakness; however, Blue has been virtually non-existent this season. He has a lot to prove against Cincinnati’s stingy defense.

Next: Jadeveon Clowney ruled out for Bengals-Texans

If the Bengals can remain perfect, they will have a two-game lead over the struggling Broncos for a potential first-round playoff bye and will remained tied with the New England Patriots as the AFC’s top team. Once the Bengals get past Monday night, the focus will shift to Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday night in yet another prime time matchup.

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