PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 04: Brandon Tate #19 of the Cincinnati Bengals returns a punt against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on December 4, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Good morning Bengals Nation! It's Thursday and that means absolutely nothing! You're probably stuck at work at this point and well where's the fun in that? Anyways there's only one more day to go until you're able to sit down and get ready for a football filled weekend.
The Bengals need to get back on track immediately before it's too late. They have lost three out of their past four games with their only win coming against the Cleveland Browns. If the Bengals are going to get back on track then they couldn't have picked a better week to do it.
On Sunday the Houston Texans will be in town and will have a third-string rookie quarterback starting for them in T.J. Yates. In his first start against the Atlanta Falcons Yates completed 12 of his 25 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown. So far in relief duty he has done an adequate job for the Texans. If for some reason Yates exits the game then the Bengals will have to deal with Jake Delhomme and Jeff Garcia. Yes, the ageless wonder was just signed by the Texans yesterday. The Bengals must take advantage of this opportunity and not let it slip through their grasp. They will be going up against a rookie quarterback who is just now starting to get his feet wet. If the Bengals defense can put pressure on Yates and not blow covering any of the receivers then they should be able to stay in the game and hopefully redirect the ship back in the right direction by getting a win.
One factor I believe will have a big impact on the Texans is the weather. They play in Houston. The temperature and overall weather there doesn't compare to Cincinnati. So far this season the farthest the Texans have traveled to is Cleveland, but that was in early November when it wasn't nearly as cold as it is now. Currently the forecast for Sunday calls for sunshine and a high of 40 degrees. The Bengals are used to this type of weather and colder temperatures and that very well could be an advantage for them on Sunday.
Each game from here on out has a major impact on the Bengals and their playoff chances. As it's been established the Bengals will probably have to win three out of their four remaining games in order to clinch a wild card slot. So why not start off the final quarter of the season the right way with a win instead of being in panic mode when the Bengals host the Baltimore Ravens in the season finale.
Alright here is what you may have missed or overlooked from Wednesday.
- The practice and injury report for the Bengals and Texans. Bengals cornerback Nate Clements, safety Chris Crocker, and defensive end Carlos Dunlap did not practice on Wednesday.
- The Texans defense has been solid this season, if not one of the best defenses in the league. However, one glaring element one should note is that every time the Texans defense allows more than 14 points they lose. That's good news for the Bengals and hopefully they won't be shut down by the Texans.
- On Sunday the Bengals defense will have their hands full with Texans running back Arian Foster who is one of the better backs in the league. In order for the Bengals to win their run defense will need to play like they did earlier in the season.
- Here is a glimpse at ESPN's NFL Playoff Machine.
- It's not exclusively the economy that is holding fans back from going to Paul Brown Stadium to enjoy a Bengals' game, the high cost of tickets have a major impact as well.
- The Bengals have placed defensive tackle Pat Sims on season-ending Injured Reserve following a separate injury that he suffered last Thursday during practice.
- The Bengals have signed Swanson Miller to the practice squad.
- The offensive and defensive snap counts against the Pittsburgh Steelers.