Are You Ready for Some NFL Playoff Football?
The 2012 season has come to a close, so are you ready for some playoff football? Saturday the first round of the NFL Playoffs start with a rematch from last year’s first round as the 10-6 Cincinnati Bengals take on the 12-4 Houston Texans. The Texans won their first playoff game in team history behind third-string QB T. J. Yates last year 31-10 over the Bengals. This year Matt Schaub is healthy but the Texans do have some issues.
The Texans started the season 11-1 and looked like a lock for the #1 seed in the AFC, but over the last four games they went 1-3 losing the top seed to the Denver Broncos. The Offense has some gaudy numbers with Andre Johnson’s 1,598 yards receiving (he led the AFC) and Arian Foster’s 1,424 rushing yards you would think this is a done deal. Not so fast, over the last four games Matt Schaub has been sacked 12 times and has thrown just one TD in the last month. On the other side of the ball some holes have appeared in the Texans Defense. While J.J. Watt has been the linchpin for the Texans, teams over the past few weeks have been able to move the ball on the Texans and even though they will get linebacker Brooks Reed and Cornerback Alan Ball back the Texans will still have a problem covering the Bengals.
The Cincinnati Bengals had a tough start to the season going 3-5 and losing four strait, but the last 8 games they went 7-1 to make the playoffs. The Bengals offense doesn’t have all the flashy numbers but did average just over 26 pts a game and Andy Dalton and A.J. Green have become a nice tandem in the NFL. The real star of the Bengals is their defense which was 6th in the league this season. Geno Atkins had 12.5 sacks and Michael Johnson had 11.5 as the Bengals put up 51 sacks for the third best in the NFL behind Denver & St. Louis tied with 52.
Last year the Texans ran away with the game, but not this year. I expect this game to be tight and if the Texans don’t take care of Matt Schaub they could lose this game. I would take the Bengals to win if the game was in chilly Cincinnati, but in the cozy dome in Houston I think the Texans pull it out.