The Houston Texans have talent in a lot of areas, but are utterly missing it in other spots of the roster. The quarterback position (or lack thereof) is one example of such a glaring hole that has fans and pundits alike collectively letting the team know that Houston does indeed have a problem. We'll soon see if Ryan Mallet is the right guy.
It also means that this is finally the year that Cincinnati expects to get over what I'll coin "the Houston hump." The last few years have seen terrible performances by the Bengals when facing the Texans, highlighted by two postseason no-shows.
Despite the fact that it's only a regular season game, it's a chance for the Bengals to exact some measure of revenge on their Houston nemesis. On paper, Cincinnati controls a good deal of the key advantages you look for in an NFL matchup. They have the more talent on offense, a defense that finally provided a solid performance against the Saints, and, for once, more answers at quarterback than their counterpart this Sunday.
This is an important game for the Bengals, being sandwiched in between a part of their schedule that precedes a series of difficult games, including three in their own division. And in a tough stretch to end the season, Cincinnati will need to pick up tallies in the win column whenever it can. That's not saying the game against Houston will be a freebie at all.
If anything, it's representative of what's to come. And for the Bengals, the playoffs can basically start now, because the postseason clock is certainly ticking. Cincinnati needs to win this game, and I think they do just that. Just limit the turnovers, and play balanced. If that's the case, the better football team wins out in Houston.
The Bengals get a morale booster and beat the Texans, 23 - 17.
How to Watch
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston
When: 1 p.m. ET
Announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Jenny Dell
Houston is a 1-point home favorite with an over/under of 43.5, according to OddsShark.
To keep up on the Texans, check out Battle Red Blog.