NFL Playoff Predictions: Why the Houston Texans Will Beat the Cincinnati Bengals

Soven BerySenior Analyst IDecember 31, 2012

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  Running back Ben Tate #44 of the Houston Texans runs the ball in the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals during their 2012 AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Reliant Stadium on January 7, 2012 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Houston Texans take on Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals at home on January 5 at 4:30 pm ET on NBC this Saturday in the first game of Wild Card Weekend. 

It will kick off the NFL postseason beautifully. 

The Texans have lost three of their past four games, and the Bengals have won three of their past four games. 

It is a tale of two different streaks. 

Houston, on their home turf, will end their recent string of losses. 

Arian Foster and company started off the year going 11-1 before ending the season at 12-4. In a win-or-go-home setting, they will rekindle that fire. 

The Texans weren’t even supposed to be playing this weekend as they were in line for a first round bye. A disappointing 28-16 road loss against the upstart Indianapolis Colts in Week 17 ended those aspirations. 

But Houston is too good to be denied. They will move on. 

Let us first look at the Texans offense and compare it to the Bengals defense. 

This season "Space City” has been completely astronomical moving the ball, averaging 372.1 yards per game. That is good for seventh in the NFL. Cincinnati has allowed 319.7 yards per game. 

Let’s break it down even further. 

Matt Schaub and his passing attack are averaging 239.4 yards per game while the Bengals are limiting opposing quarterbacks to 212.5 passing yards per game. 

Those numbers don’t bode well for Houston, as Leon Hall and the Cincy secondary should pester Schaub all day. 

But that will just force offensive coordinator Rick Dennison to run the ball more. 

He has no problem with that. 

Foster has 1,424 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on the year. The fourth-year back leads a ground attack that is ranked eighth in the NFL, averaging 132.7 yards per game. Geno Atkins and his Bengals defense gives up an average of 107.2 rushing yards per contest. 

Expect Houston to run the ball very frequently. They will pound Foster down the Bengal’s throats thus freeing up an air assault that will see Schaub proving his worth as a big game quarterback as he sends bombs to Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels. 

The Texans have way too many offensive weapons for the young Cincinnati defense to contain. 

Speaking of offensive weapons, the Bengals' A.J Green certainly fits that description. Andy Dalton will aim to find Green like he has done all season. The young quarterback is averaging 223.6 yards per game and the explosive wide receiver has pulled in 11 touchdowns to boot. 

But the Houston secondary is only giving up 225.8 passing yards per game. It will be a chess match between Green and Johnathan Joseph all afternoon. 

Don’t expect this young tandem to do a heavy amount of damage against an experienced Texans defense. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has the brain and available talent to slow down the redheaded signal caller and Georgia product.

It is clear that the passing attack won’t win the game for the Bengals, especially with J.J. Watt harassing Dalton. 

Sadly, Cincinnati’s running game will be slowed down as well. 

BenJarvus Green-Ellis has 1,094 rushing yards in 2012, and he leads a ground game averaging 109.1 yards per contest. That won’t be enough against a Houston defense ranked seventh in the league when defending the run. Opposing backs are only averaging 97.5 yards per game against Houston. 

Glover Quin and Watt will bottle up Green-Ellis, rendering the Bengals offense unproductive. 

Did I mention that this is a playoff game at home? 

The Houston Texans will return to form behind a boisterous home crowd and head coach Gary Kubiak will be smiling as his squad moves on in the NFL playoffs. 

Final Predicted Score- Houston Texans defeat Cincinnati Bengals 28-17