HOUSTON TEXANS @ CINCINNATI BENGALS
Vegas Line: Texans + 3
Rob’s Line: Bengals + 0.5
There you have it. One of those previews where you know straight away where my hard earned goes. This is a tricky one to call and I wouldn’t argue if you felt Houston should be a half point underdog, but three point underdogs? It seems a lot to favour the Bengals by and there’s no way I’d be anywhere near a spread like that.
I favour Houston simply because they’ve coped magnificently with injuries this season and while the much talked about T. J. Yates only completed 12 of 25 passes against Atlanta last week, I feel he did a sound job and he’s had another seven days to become even more familiar with the offense. In addition, being able to hand the ball off to Arian Foster and Ben Tate on any given down means opposing defenses are assured of being kept honest, giving him what he hopes is sufficient time in the pocket.
Foster and Tate took turns to pound away at a strong Falcons run defense last Sunday and Cincinnati’s is equally as good, ranking sixth. Much like the Texans’ matchup with Atlanta, this one promises much and is drenched in playoff implications. It could be argued that the Bengals need the win more seeing as Houston is two games clear of Tennessee in the AFC South while the Bengals are fighting for their wildcard lives.
Cincy’s form is a little worrying though. They’ve only won one of their last four and the W came courtesy of a fourth quarter comeback at home to Cleveland so they’re almost on a four game skid. Granted, they’re not, but they really struggled against the Browns for three quarters. The losses, two against Pittsburgh and the other to Baltimore, have come against good teams and Houston is right up there in that category so I’m at a loss to explain how you can back the Texans with a field goal start. It looks almost too good to be true and my fear is that it is!
Wide receiver Andre Johnson will once again be missing this week for the Texans after he pulled up with a hamstring injury chasing a long Yates pass last week, but this team haven’t let his absence worry them for most of the season and the Bengals have a few problems of their own in their secondary so I see the two as offsetting each other, if I may use NFL officiating parlance for a second.
We know that I love the Texans here so I won’t begin to second guess myself as I attempt to seek a logic for the thinking in Vegas. Houston and that field goal start, please.