Wild Card Week: Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans

Welcome to the post season and here are two Cinderella stories meeting during NFL Wild Card week. Who would have thought that after losing Chad Ochocinco and Carson Palmer, Marvin Lewis would have his Cincinnati Bengals in the playoffs?? Very few… Now they have the chance to win a playoff game which is something they didn’t accomplish with Palmer or Chad. He comes in with a growing rookie quarterback in Andy Dalton and the NFL’s #7 defense. They were a top ten defense all season and finished with 45 sacks on the year and will face either T.J. Yates or Jake Delhomme.

Now neither quarterback is a world beater at this time however Yates led the Texans to a 20-19 victory over the Bengals just four weeks ago. Yet they haven’t won a game since. The  Texans have to lean on their defense which comes in ranked #2 and has given up the fourth fewest touchdowns this season with 31. Having Andre Johnson is a huge step in advancing to the divisional round. This team is a little beat up and going into the playoffs with a second or third string quarterback doesn’t bode well. We’re just not sure about Jake Delhomme at this point when facing a formidable pass rush.

You have to remember that Bengal’s rookie quarterback Andy Dalton is from TCU and should have some fans at this game. He will want to have a good showing. In his first year replacing Carson Palmer, the former Horned Frog threw for 3,398 yards and 20TDs. A strong showing overshadowed by the success of Cam Newton in Carolina. With 1,067 yards rushing this season from Cedric Benson, the Bengals are built to win this playoff game. Houston does have Arian Foster (1,224 yards rushing) to counter that but this is the first foray into the NFL playoffs for this team and many of their players.

The Texans would be better suited to win this game had Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson were completely healthy but in this one…we’re taking the Cincinnati Bengals. You don’t go into the playoffs on a 3 game LOSING streak and expect to wake up in the playoffs. The only time we can remember that happening was in 1986 when the Jets lost their last 5 then beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the wildcard game. Yet they had to switch from Ken O’Brien to Pat Ryan at quarterback to achieve this…. Anyway this should be a game for the Bengals defense to get some respect today.

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