Both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Houston Texans lost coming into the opening round of the playoffs, yet one team has just a bit more momentum.
Houston has been hit hard by injuries this season, but Andre Johnson, Mario Williams and Matt Schaub were the most devastating blows to the team.
Johnson returned in Week 17 against the Tennessee Titans, but was limited in action. He is expected to be on the field even more against the Bengals, though.
The Texans have made do without Mario Williams—the Houston defense is ranked second in total yards per game allowed—but the offense hasn't fared so well without Schaub.
While T.J. Yates, who took over after second-string quarterback Matt Leinart injured his shoulder against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 12, has performed admirably in Schaub's absence, the offense just hasn't been the same. But with Arian Foster and Ben Tate in the backfield, the Texans still have a stellar run game
The Bengals, on the other hand, have been relatively consistent all season long.
Rookie quarterback Andy Dalton has thrown 20 touchdowns on the season and 16 interceptions (compared to Yates' three touchdowns and three interceptions), and he has found quite a connection with his rookie wideout, A.J. Green.
Bengals running back Cedric Benson is 12th overall in rushing yards as well (although this hasn't been his best season).
And Cincinnati's defense has been a strong point all year. The Bengals are ranked seventh best in total yards allowed.
The Texans were sitting some important players for their Week 17 loss to the Titans (Foster and Johnathan Joseph), and Houston could have won the game with a two-point conversion at the end, but the game was the Texans' third loss in a row.
The Bengals gave the Baltimore Ravens a run for their money in the 24-16 loss in Week 17, and the team had won two straight before going into the contest.
However, Cincinnati does have trouble against winning teams. Their only victory versus a team that finished with a winning record was against the Titans.
Houston and the Bengals played each other in Week 14, and the Texans squeaked out a 20-19 win, so if that was any indication of how this game will go, it will be a close one.
Slight Momentum: Cincinnati Bengals