Despite the Houston Texans finishing 12-4 and the Cincinnati Bengals finishing 10-6, Houston enters Saturday's tilt having dropped three of its final four games, while the Bengals come in having won seven of their last eight.
It's not like Houston didn't have anything to play for either, as a first-round bye was on the line down the stretch.
Regardless of both teams' streaks, Houston will come away with a win against Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon.
For starters, the Texans have the edge of playing at home, which will impact any opponent's ability to communicate on offense.
Secondly, Houston also possesses a big advantage in terms of running the ball.
The Texans finished the season eighth in the league in rushing offense with 132.7 yards per game, while Cincinnati finished 18th in the league, averaging just 109.1 yards per game on the ground.
Defending the run, Houston also finished ahead of Cincinnati, allowing just 97.5 yards per contest, to Cincinnati's 107.2 yards per game against.
This leads me to believe that Houston shouldn't have much of a problem shutting down the Bengals' lackluster run game, allowing the Texans to focus on shutting down Andy Dalton and the passing game.
Through the air, Houston also averages more yards per game than Cincinnati, leading it by a margin of 239.4 to 223.6.
Defending the pass is the one area that the Bengals rank ahead of Houston, but Houston does have pass-rush extraordinaire J.J. Watt who is sure to keep pressure on Andy Dalton all game long.
With Cincinnati relying more heavily on the pass game and Houston having the more balanced offensive attack, Houston's defensive game plan is not only easier to come up with, but plays to its strengths of neutralizing the running attack of Cincinnati and then using J.J. Watt to help shut down its aerial attack.
If Houston just plays its game on Saturday, it will send the Bengals packing.
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