What’s worse: Getting shut out in your hope opener 20-0 to the Baltimore Ravens, or getting blown out 29-7 in your hope opener to a hapless Jacksonville Jaguars team coming off a 3-13 season? The answer is probably both.
The last two times the Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans faced each other, the average score has been 8-11, with neither team topping a dozen points. If week 1 was any indication, this theme could be continued in the Week 2 matchup between the Bengals and Texans.
In Week 1, both teams battled for which offense could look worse. The Bengals put their worst foot forward with quarterback Andy Dalton committing five turnovers, while the Texans’ starting quarterback got benched in favor of a rookie.
Coming off such pitiful starts to the 2017 NFL season, we spoke with Brett Kollmann of Battle Red Blog for an inside scoop on what Bengals fans can expect from the Texans in Week 2.
Scott Schulze: With hurricane Harvey recently wreaking havoc on the greater Houston area, it would seem reasonable to expect that football was likely an afterthought for many fans, and even some of the players leading up to Week 1. Do you think this had any bearing on the Texans’ 29-7 home loss to the Jaguars?
Brett Kollmann: It is possible that spending a large portion of the last two weeks helping the city recover from a hurricane had an effect on the team's preparation for this game, but the Texans also came out with a lot of energy and really seemed to be amped up for the game. It's not like they weren't trying, they just flat out got beaten up in the trenches from start to finish.
Leonard Fournette churned out first down after first down between the tackles, the Jaguars offensive line managed to keep Blake Bortles clean against one of the best front sevens in the NFL, and the Texans own offensive line gave up 10 sacks while protecting two different quarterbacks. It was, to be perfectly honest, a complete crap show. If you thought the Bengals' offensive performance this past weekend was bad, boy you ain't seen nothing yet.
Scott Schulze: After stepping in for a benched Tom Savage, has Deshaun Watson become the Texans’ starting quarterback for 2017? Or will this position be a revolving door this season without one man holding the role outright?
BK: Deshaun Watson is clearly not ready to start in this league from a passing perspective, but he might be the only quarterback in the history of the organization that is mobile enough to survive this wretched offensive line. We need his legs more than we need his arm, which is why he will likely keep the job going forward. The only way he does not start this game is if his ankle injury from last week keeps him off the field, but so far there is no indication of that happening.
Scott Schulze: From what I’ve read, J.J. Watt is expected to make a quick recovery from his injury and return in time for the Bengals’ game this Thursday night. If Watt doesn’t return, can the defense match their recent performances against the Bengals, in which they have allowed an average of only 8 points in their last two matchups?
BK: Luckily for the Texans, they still have Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus to rely on even when Watt is not on the field. Neither of them made major impacts as pass rushers against the Jaguars, but considering the Jags were playing from ahead literally the entire game they did not have many true opportunities to rush in the first place.
If — and that's a big "if" — the Texans can get any sort of lead and force the Bengals into passing situations, you should see all three of these pass rushers making life difficult for Andy Dalton. If Terrell Suggs can abuse Cedric Ogbuehi as thoroughly as he did last Sunday, surely J.J. Watt can do the same, right?
Scott Schulze: Speaking of the rest of the defense, from an outsider’s perspective, Jadeveon Clowney doesn’t seem to have lived up to the hype of being the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. His 10.5 career sacks currently rank him 10th in the 2014 NFL Draft class. Are there mitigating factors build into this low sack total? How do fans of the Texans view his production after three NFL seasons?
BK: Clowney was not truly healthy until the start of the 2016 season, which is when he had his first consistent success as a player. He finished with six sacks and a second team All-Pro nod, and was dominant in virtually every game he played in. The fact that the Texans defense was still able to finish as the top ranked unit in the league without J.J. Watt speaks to how dominant
Clowney really was in all of the positions he played - defensive end, defensive tackle, outside linebacker, and occasionally even inside linebacker too. I'm not even being hyperbolic, at one point or another Clowney was lining up at literally every single position in the Texans front seven, and he made an impact at all of them. The sack numbers have not been All-Pro worthy (yet), but everything else about his game is simply magnificent.
Scott Schulze: Which team turns things around in a short week and gets their first win this Thursday night, and what’s the score?
BK: Sc...score? I'm...not familiar with that word. Is that what we do after we punt or turn the ball over? I thought only the other team was allowed to do that?
Bengals 10 - Texans 7
Who wins Thursday night
This poll is closed
Neither deserves to win. They tie.