This year’s NFL playoffs begin the same way they did last season, with the Bengals heading to Houston to take on the Texans.
Both teams are the same seed that they were last year … which is not something the Texans are proud of.
They come in as the third seed after going into Week 17 as the top seed in the AFC. The Bengals are the six seed, but must not be taken lightly in this game.
The Bengals are the lowest seed in the AFC playoffs, but they finished with the same 10-6 record as the Baltimore Ravens who won the AFC North. They went 7-1 in the second half of the season with the only loss being a one-point defeat against the Cowboys.
Last year’s game was a big win for the Texans, but the game was not dominated by Houston. The difference was turnovers, specifically the three interceptions thrown by Andy Dalton. The most memorable of the three came at the end of the first half when J.J. Watt returned the interception for a touchdown. This gave the Texans a 17-10 lead and took away any momentum the Bengals had in the game.
Dalton has continued to have issues with interceptions all season, throwing sixteen this year. He threw at least one interception in eleven games, and had four games with more than one thrown. This will be the one thing that he must fix if the Bengals want any chance to beat the Texans, who are none too pleased about playing on Saturday.
The Texans come into this game against the Bengals after losing three of their last four games, in which each loss was by a double-digit margin.
They received the third seed after losing to the Colts last week, which put them behind both the Broncos and Patriots, who were each victorious last week. It was a tough blow to the Texans but could actually be an advantage for them.
A win for Houston would set them up to take on Denver, who they have already beaten this season. It would also send them to Denver with a win under their belt, as opposed to having a bye week after struggling to finish the regular season. A win against the Bengals can give them some momentum that they desperately need, even with their already impressive record.
The Texans were able to beat the Bengals last year with T.J. Yates as their quarterback, so they will only improve their result with Matt Schaub as the starter. They will prove why they were the top seed in the AFC for nearly the entire season with a rather easy win over the Bengals.
Texans 34 – Bengals 24