Nov 2, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (23) runs during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
If you like to see NFL teams run the football, then you might be in for a treat when the Cincinnati Bengals visit the Houston Texans on Sunday. The Bengals’ Giovani Bernard began practicing on Wednesday after three weeks on the sidelines with hip and clavicle injuries, and he’ll probably join the breakout Jeremy Hill in the backfield. Texans running back Arian Foster, nursing a groin injury, likewise began practicing mid-week and could share the rushing load with rookie Alfred Blue.
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The Bengals are ranked 28th against the run, in terms of yards allowed, in 2014, and even though they looked pretty solid last week against the New Orleans Saints, they are still without linebacker Vontaze Burfict. There will probably be plenty of yards for the Texans’ taking, and you never know when Foster is going to break off a 200-yard game. If he is not healthy enough to play, or to play at a high level, then Blue is a decent dark horse to provide nice fantasy value. He has 390 yards on the season, including the 156 he picked up in Cleveland in his first turn as the featured back.
Hill, of course, is no stranger to the 150-yard barrier, having cracked that mark in two of the three games he has been the Bengals’ main backfield option since Bernard went down a week ago. Even if Bernard plays on Sunday, which seems likely at this point, I expect Hill to continue getting most of the ground touches, with Bernard being mixed in to the receiving mix, as well as garnering a few carries. Houston is middle-of-the-pack when it comes to run defense, so the Bengals might not go crazy on the ground, but they should still surpass the 100-yard mark.
The game itself could go either way, as Houston is young but improving, and the Bengals have a nice won-loss record but have been entirely unpredictable. I say, enjoy the ground fireworks, and hope Cincinnati can find a way to pull out a big road win.