Line: Texans -1.5

The 6-3 Bengals and the 5-5 Texans will square off this week after both secured a much needed and easy win last week on the road versus solid opponents. The Bengals blew out the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans 27-10 and the Texans blew out the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland 23-7. The wins have kept both teams in the playoff chase and should give them both some confidence going forward as the quarterback situation for both teams appears to be back on track after some uncertainty. Andy Dalton bested Drew Brees last week in the Superdome by throwing 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Dalton’s favorite target, wide receiver A.J. Greene also had a much needed big day by catching 6 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown after a few disappointing weeks. The Texans have had quarterback issues all year and it was only last week when they decided to make a switch to Ryan Mallet who performed well by throwing 2 touchdown passes with only 1 interception. With Arian Fosters status at running back up in the air for this game the Texans fate could rest in the arm of Ryan Mallet.

The Bengals offense has struggled at times this year, especially after being shut out in week 7 vs the Indianapolis Colts and most recently losing 24-3 in week 10 to the Cleveland Browns. They appear to have put their offensive woes behind them after last week’s strong performance but J.J. Watt and the Texans defense is one of the best in the league and is sure to test Dalton and the Bengals Offense. The Bengals have also been the recipient of solid rushing from running back Jeremy Hill who has averaged 120 yards rushing and has scored 2 touchdowns in the past 3 weeks.

The Texans have the best defender in Football in J.J. Watt and he is even finding success on the other side of the ball scoring 2 offensive touchdowns this year. He can almost single handedly change the outcome of a game. Arian Fosters status for this week’s game is questionable but if he doesn’t play, the Texans won’t lose too much as replacement Alfred Blue rushed for over 150 yards last week versus Cleveland. DeAndre Hopkins has been another bright spot for the Texans as he is averaging 100 receiving yards the last 4 games.

The Texans have had the Bengals number the past few years as they have won the last 5 meetings between these 2 teams including playoff games in 2011 and 2012 where Andy Dalton struggled by throwing 4 interceptions and 0 touchdowns. Although this isn’t a playoff game, it will be a playoff atmosphere and in an evenly matched game like this one, it is difficult to go against the home team which is the Texans, especially if Arian Foster suits up and plays. Either way, these are two hungry teams that are going to give the home crowd their money’s worth

Pick: Texans -1.5

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