3 Teams Cincinnati Bengals Hope Miss the Playoffs

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Nov 29, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) is unable to make a catch during the third quarter as New Orleans Saints cornerback Brandon Browner (39) defends at NRG Stadium. The Texans defeated the Saints 24-6. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

2. Houston Texans

Does that DeAndre Hopkins catch look familiar? Looking at this picture burns my eyes every time I see it.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m referring to, Hopkins made this exact catch over Adam Jones in Houston’s Week 10 victory to spoil Cincinnati’s then-perfect season. And while Jones took responsibility for giving up the touchdown, the play was not on Pacman.

DeAndre Hopkins is a freak of nature who is becoming one of the NFL’s best receivers. He’s reminiscent of a young A.J. Green, in the sense that he’s a freak receiver who doesn’t need an elite quarterback throwing perfect passes to hang in the conversation as one of the league’s top pass-catchers.

But it’s not just Hopkins that makes a potential matchup with Houston scary. The Texans have gotten the best of the Bengals throughout the Dalton era. Andy Dalton is 1-4 against the Texans in his career, while Texans quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and T.J. Yates are a combined 4-0 against Cincinnati.

Red Rifle comments aside, J.J. Watt has been a nuisance against the Bengals, especially in the playoffs. In two playoff games against Cincinnati, Watt tallied seven tackles, two sacks, three pass defenses and a 29-yard pick six.

J.J. Watt is the best defensive player in the league, regardless of how strangely confident he may be. While Cincinnati has boded well against him in the regular season, Watt is a different animal come playoff time.

Houston will always be a scary opponent for Cincinnati until the Bengals can beat the Texans without Ryan Mallett at the helm for Houston.