Texans, Bengals heading in opposite directions

Texans, Bengals heading in opposite directions
January 2, 2013, 4:30 pm
Share This Post

The Texans are playing this weekend. And that alone is cause for concern.

After jumping out of the gate with an 11-1 record, the Texans looked destined to take the top seed in the AFC. In fact, it looked like it would be hard for them to not do it.

Now, they’re the third seed and, for the second straight season, are hosting the Bengals at Reliant Stadium in a wild card game. The two teams play Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

“They’re good. They’re upbeat,” Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said about his team on Tuesday, two days after the Texans lost the regular season finale to the Colts. “They’re back to work today and they've got a lot on their plate. They’ve got to get ready real quick. We played in a game, like I said, it’s been what 48 hours since we played and they’ve got to refocus on another opponent, another game plan and get back physically, too. Get back physically, get ready to go. They’re upbeat. They’re ready to go.”

And they had better be ready to go because the Bengals are playing football as well as any team in the entire NFL. See, while the Texans were losing three of their last four games and plummeting in the hierarchy of AFC teams, the Bengals were busy being the hottest team in football.

Saturday’s matchup is between two teams heading in opposite directions and the Texans will need to work hard to turn the tide.

Cincinnati has won seven of its last eight games, with the lone loss coming to the Dallas Cowboys by one point in early December. In the past four games, the Bengals have outscored their opponents 89-60, while the Texans have been outscored 65-110.

“We’re at an all-time high,” defensive lineman J.J. Watt said. “We’re ready to roll. This is the NFL playoffs. Twelve teams, one goal. That’s it. You lose, you go home. You win, you go on.”

Watt and a few of his defensive mates led the charge on Monday, talking to the entire defense about getting back to the type of football that made the unit great at the start of the season. The Bengals and Texans have both had nine games this season in which they held opponents to 17 points or fewer, tied for second-best in the NFL behind Seattle’s 10. But Cincinnati has done it six times in its last eight games and they’ve given up 20 or fewer in their past eight games.

For a Texans’ offense that has struggled to find rhythm and has struggled to get going early, facing a Bengals’ defense that has really found its own rhythm is a daunting task.

“They’re really good,” Kubiak said. “I think sixth in the league, giving up 12 points a game in the back half of the season. Boy, that’s incredible in the National Football League.”

Kubiak is right. The Bengals’ defense is really good. Over the past eight games, they’ve given up an average of 12.75 points and 282 yards per game. If they had those numbers all season long, they’d be second in yards per game and first in points allowed. Statistically speaking, the Bengals might be the best defense in football right now.

“We have full confidence in our ability,” Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said on Tuesday in a conference call with Houston reporters. “We have full confidence in the way we’re going to prepare this week. Now we just have to come out and we have to show it on Saturday.”  

So can the Texans beat the Bengals? Sure. They just have to get back to playing football the way they did early in the season. But more importantly – even though they go hand in hand – the Texans have to stop the Bengals from playing football they way they have recently.

Basically, they have to stop momentum and swing it back the other way.

“I got a very strong belief in what we’re doing, strong belief in the coaches, in the players, and I know these opportunities are hard to come by,” Kubiak said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. There are a lot of people that coach in this business, play in this business and never even sniff a playoff game. I’ve been a part of many of them. I appreciate them and know the opportunity we have. Like I said, I believe in our people. I know it’s been a tough month from that standpoint. It’s a new start for us and like I said, we’re excited about it. I know we've got the right people to go out there and compete.”

Texans - Team News
DeAndre Hopkins - WR
DeAndre Hopkins (hand) is probable for Week 7. The Texans listed Hopkins on the injury report, but his status was never in doubt. He'll be a WR3 for Monday night against the Steelers.
Oct 18 2:54PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster (groin) is probable for Monday night's game against the Steelers. Foster was limited on Thursday, but practiced in full the last two days. He should have another heavy workload against a Steelers defense that's allowing 4.4 yards per carry...
Oct 18 2:48PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) was upgraded to full in Saturday's practice and is listed as probable for... Johnson is good to go for Monday night's matchup with the Steelers. He's Rotoworld's No. 15 receiver this week.
Oct 18 2:39PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is listed as questionable for Monday night's game against... Clowney got in two limited practices this week, but said he still "can't run laterally." He could be held out in an attempt to get fully healthy for Week 8. If...
Oct 18 2:20PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) returned to practice Friday. It was Clowney's first practice since undergoing knee surgery in Week 1. He's expected to be a game-time decision for Monday night. Clowney will likely be on a limited snap...
Oct 17 6:08PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster (groin) was upgraded to full in Friday's practice. Foster suffered a groin injury in last Thursday's loss to the Colts, but his Week 7 status isn't in doubt. He should be fine for Monday night against the Steelers.
Oct 17 6:02PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) remained limited in Friday's practice. The Texans are limiting Johnson's practice reps, but he's expected to play on Monday night. Johnson is Rotoworld's No. 15 receiver this week.
Oct 17 5:53PM Read More
DeAndre Hopkins - WR
DeAndre Hopkins is listed on the Week 7 injury report with a hand issue, but is practicing in... Hopkins must have tweaked something in last week's loss to the Colts. It won't affect his WR3 status for Week 7.
Oct 16 4:22PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) was limited in Thursday's practice. The Texans have made a habit of limiting Johnson's practice reps, but he hasn't been limited in games. He'll be a WR2 for Monday's game against the Steelers.
Oct 16 4:20PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster was limited in Thursday's practice with a groin injury. It's a new ailment for Foster, but it doesn't appear to be anything that's going to cast doubt on his status for Monday night's game against the Steelers. It's never wise to...
Oct 16 4:19PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) will be a game-time decision for Monday's tilt with the... "It's getting closer to game time and we'll know better as we move closer to game time," coach Bill O'Brien said Thursday. "If he were to play against...
Oct 16 3:41PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Coach Bill O'Brien said OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) has a 50-50 chance of returning to the... The Texans and Steelers play on Monday night. Clowney has been sidelined since going down with a torn meniscus in the season opener. J.J. Watt is single-handedly carrying...
Oct 15 9:28AM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is targeting Week 7 against the Steelers to return. Clowney is recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus. The first overall pick in May's draft would add a needed edge presence with J.J. Watt wreaking havoc up front....
Oct 10 2:32PM Read More
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue rushed three times for 22 yards in Houston's Week 6 loss to the Colts. Blue was only called on when all-world workhorse Arian Foster needed a breather. Blue is a pure handcuff. He has no standalone value.
Oct 9 11:49PM Read More
Garrett Graham - TE
Garrett Graham was held without a catch on one target in Houston's Week 6 loss to the Colts. It almost appears as if Graham is being phased out of the Texans' offense, as he's now been targeted just twice over his past two games. Graham is emphatically off the radar...
Oct 9 11:47PM Read More

More Team Talk