Cincinnati Bengals vs. Houston Texans: 7 Keys to the Game for Houston

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Cincinnati Bengals vs. Houston Texans: 7 Keys to the Game for Houston
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Take a deep breath, Houston Texans fans.

For a second straight season, the franchise that couldn't make the playoffs for the first nine years of its existence has sealed a postseason berth.

It didn't come in pretty fashion. The final quarter of the schedule undoubtedly left a sour taste in every fan's mouth. Fortunately for the Texans, that has absolutely no bearing on what will take place Saturday afternoon at Reliant Stadium.

The Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) will fly to Houston (12-4) for the second year in a row on Wild Card Weekend to take on a struggling Texans team. Last year's contest saw the Texans defense dominate the Bengals. Houston's third-string quarterback, T.J. Yates, out-dueled Andy Dalton and led the team to a 31-10 victory.

Both teams added to their win totals from a year ago in 2012. While the Texans lost three of their last four games, the Bengals were headed in the opposite direction, winning seven of their last eight.

The late-season slide cost Houston its No. 1 ranking in the AFC. Now as the third seed, the bitter Texans will face one of the hottest teams in the AFC on a week where they expected a bye. The sixth-seeded Bengals come to town essentially getting a mulligan for last year's playoff loss in Houston.

Something has to give Saturday. Here are some keys to this weekend's rematch of the Texans and Bengals.

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