Cincinnati will play the Houston Texans on Saturday, January 5th at 4:30 pm est. Cincinnati lost to Houston 31-10 last year in the wildcard round but this year will be different I think. Cincinnati has won 7 of their last 8 games while Houston has lost 3 of their last 4. Here are 3 keys to the game that will help Cincinnati win.
Limit the turnovers on offense: Last year when Cincinnati played Houston in the playoffs, they had 3 turnovers. Andy Dalton needs to be smart and make good decisions this time around. Last year is in the past, and I think Dalton has matured and will play with more poise in this game. Already having one playoff start under his belt will help Dalton and the Bengals in this game.
Force turnovers on defense: This year, Cincinnati is 4-0 when forcing 3 or more turnovers in a game. That’s a pretty impressive stat for the leagues 6th ranked defense. Geno Atkins and the Bengals defense should have a good day getting to Matt Schaub even though the Texans offensive line has only given up 28 sacks this season. If the Bengals go positive in the turnover department, Cincinnati should win the game.
Spread the ball around: AJ Green is our best player on offense, but he’s not the only one who can make big plays. Houston will be on Green the whole game, so that should open up players like Jermaine Gresham and Andrew Hawkins. Cincinnati also needs to establish the run game early. Feed the ball to BenJarvus Green-Ellis often and early to set up the passing game.
If Cincinnati can do these 3 things, they should be able to win the game. Cincinnati has not won a playoff game since January 6th, 1991. That’s a long time without a playoff win and that drought needs to end today.