I think the numbers may not come close to telling the whole tale of what's going to happen on Sunday at Reliant when the 'Nati rolls into town, though I think some of the stats are going to ring true. In recent weeks, the Houston offense has looked like a well-oiled machine, capable of moving the ball down the field at a rapid clip, particularly through the air. Conversely, the Cincinnati defense has performed fairly well against the pass, yet is really impotent against the run. On the other side of the ball, the Bengals haven't run the ball with any real success yet and haven't been much better through the air, despite featuring what should be a deadly receiving corps. The Houston defense, of course, features a secondary that'll make your eyes bleed and a pass rush that has generally consisted of hoping Super Mario funnels the QB into the grasp of another defensive lineman. What to make of it? Glad you asked:
1. I'd look for Steve Slaton to get more carries on Sunday than he has at any point this season, and I think he's going to have a huge game. Pencil him in for 118 yards rushing on 23 carries, with a rushing TD to boot.
2. Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to give me flashbacks of Jon Kitna and, well, Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Bengals are going to spread the field, and Fitzpatrick (via Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmanagonnaworkhereanymore) should have a field day. I foresee a 268 yard passing day for the Bengals' QB, complete with 2 TD passes. He'll also throw a pick, and I'm tempted to say that whichever DB picks it off will give it right back. Nah...Jacques Reeves holds on to his INT.
3. I'll take Houston's passing game against what's been a surprisingly stingy Cincinnati secondary, and I'll take them in style. The Schaub will not turn the ball over while completing 70% of his passes and notching 3 TDs--one to Andre Johnson, one to Owen Daniels, and one to Kevin Walter.
PUT YOUR NAME ON IT: Your Houston Texans are prohibitive favorites on Sunday. I like 'em to put together the first three (3) game winning streak in franchise history, but covering is another matter. Bengals 23, Texans 28.