Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans NFL Playoff Predictions 1/5/13

Last Updated: January 4th, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Cincinnati vs. HoustonThe 2013 NFL playoff picks are going to be difficult to make, and in this one, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Houston Texans are set to do battle with one another. Check out our Bengals vs. Texans predictions and the keys to the game for Cincinnati vs. Houston.

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#6 Cincinnati Bengals @ #3 Houston Texans
Bengals vs. Texans Location: Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
Bengals vs. Texans Date/Time: Saturday, January 5th, 4:30 p.m. (ET)
Bengals vs. Texans On TV: NBC

Key #1: The Texans have to figure out how to get up off of the mat
When you’re a good team, you’ve got the bulls-eye around you, and the Texans have definitely been getting the best shot from a number of good teams down the stretch. They were beaten in three of their final four games of the year, and they are clearly limping into the second season. The squad has scored just one touchdown in its last 10 quarters, and QB Matt Schaub, preparing for his first playoff game, has only one touchdown pass in his last four games. RB Arian Foster has just one 100+ yard rushing game in his last five games, and the only one of those that was comfortably won was the win over the Indianapolis Colts in which he rumbled for 165 yards. This is the first time that the team has really faced some major adversity as a contender for the Super Bowl, and this is going to be a real test of character for all of these young players that have never really been in this position before. This is where we’ll see whether Houston has the moxie to get through this spot, knowing that it had the No. 1 seed in the AFC in the bag up until the very last week of the year.

Bengals @ Texans Odds at Diamond Sportsbook
Cincinnati Bengals +4.5
Houston Texans -4.5
Over/Under 44.5
Click Here to Bet Your Bengals vs. Texans Picks!

Key #2: The offensive line for the Texans has to handle a great defensive front
With 50 sacks this season, the Bengals truly have put together one of the most aggressive defensive fronts in the league. DT Geno Atkins led the club with 12.5 sacks, while DE Michael Johnson had 11.5 sacks. This is one of the most ferocious tandems in the league, and it might be a unit that is even better than that of DE JJ Watt and DE Antonio Smith on the other side of the field. Houston’s offensive line has been solid for the most part this year, but QB Matt Schaub was sacked four times in the finale against the Indianapolis Colts, and he has now been sacked 11 times in his last three games. As we have seen in the past, Schaub has the potential to put up some huge numbers when he has the time to get the ball out of his hands. When he doesn’t though, he tends to make a lot of mistakes as he did last week when he threw two picks to DB Vontae Davis.

Key #3: It’s all about payback and experience
This is a game that is already being dubbed as “Revenge” and “Vengeance” for the Bengals. They were beaten last year by 21 points here at Reliant Stadium, and they really did look lost for most of the game. QB Andy Dalton threw three picks and was sacked four times on the day, and WR AJ Green really wasn’t anywhere to be found with just 47 yards on five catches. This time around, Cincinnati has a better defensive line, as we discussed before, Dalton has another year under his belt, and Green has emerged as a legitimate Top 5 receiver in the league. On top of that, RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, assuming that he is healthy and can give it a go with his hamstring injury that he picked up at the end of the season, is a 1,000-yard back that has the ability to bust the game open. The Bengals have to stay focused this entire week and stay prepared with the goal at hand, and the extra experience that the team picked up in the playoffs last year and through this season should carry them in the right direction in Houston.

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Posted in NFL Football - Last Updated on Friday, January 4th, 2013 @ 10:26 am (EST)
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