Another tough test of the Texans this Sunday, as they head to Paul Brown Stadium to take on a desperate Bengals team, that needs a win in the worst way after falling last week to the Steelers.
Houston is playing well even with 3rd string QB T.J. Yates, and this week he will have to be careful not to slip up against a solid Bengals defense. Below are the three keys to the game, along with a prediction for this matchup.
1. Dominate Dalton – Andy Dalton has had a very good rookie season, but he’s shown flaws the last few weeks, and the Texans need to get to him and force him into mistakes. The Bengals look to go downfield with A.J. Green, and he will have to be watched carefully as well. Dalton is the key to the offense, and if the Texans can force some mistakes from him and create short fields, it will help their chances to win greatly.
2. Run Arian Run – The Bengals front four is really more of a front 8. They rotate in and out quite a bit, but that doesn’t mean that they should not try their best to run the ball a lot. This could be a game for both Arian Foster and Ben Tate to have big games. Both guys are made for these early December types of games, and the Texans have to use them a lot Sunday.
3. Dominate on the O-line – Yates was sacked three times and missed a few throws in his first NFL start last Sunday, a 17-10 victory over Atlanta, but Texans coach Gary Kubiak will gladly take a 188-yard effort with a touchdown and no interceptions. It starts with the O-line, both in the run game, and also protecting Yates. Let’s see if the success the line has had this season can continue, and they will be tested by a good Bengals front four.
Prediction – The Bengals need a win in the worst way, as they simply have been having a lot of issues in all areas, and the Texans have to jump on that if they are going to get out of Cincy with a win. One thing is forcing mistakes from Dalton, and the other is the patience of a successful run game. The Bengals will step up and play a complete game, and the Texans will make one too many mistakes to fall short. Bengals 21 Texans 17