After an easy victory over the Tennessee Titans way back when, the Houston Texans elected not to make any major (or minor) changes during the extended break for the off week. Well, I guess technically there could be some lineup changes, but you understand the spirit of what I'm saying. This team is basically standing pat. I'm not necessarily against that, as I really don't think there's any significant changes to be made that would change the fortunes of 2015 in any relevant way.
Regardless, we have a game to watch, which means we have a game to predict. Let's see what the BRB staff thinks about this week's nationally-televised Monday Night date with the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals.
Chris - Bengals 40, Texans 20.
I can't see any tangible reason this game will be close at the end. Houston's best defensive performances this season have been with straight-up garbage at quarterback, and I'm not buying for a second that anything has been turned around based on some wins against Jacksonville or especially Zach Mettenberger's Titans.
If you want some analysis beyond "boo hoo we suck", just look at the matchups when it's Texans on defense vs. Cincy's offense. A.J. Green against anyone, much less the Texans' defensive backs, is a mismatch. Their one-two tandem of Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill against our weak interior defensive line. Tyler Eifert... well, do I even need to go on? Eifert is going to have a field day out there unless the Texans base their game plan around him (which will likely result in someone else killing them). When Houston is on offense...they are Houston on offense.
kdentify - Bengals 23, Texans 20.
We lose, in a respectable manner, though. This isn't because we're awful or unprepared for the game, but rather because finally Cincinnati has put the pieces together enough to take on and defeat a team with as many holes as we have. Andy Dalton doesn't freak out being on the national stage with all eyes on him, A.J. Green does his thing, Giovani Bernard chips in, and that defense is enough to stymie our anemic offense.
MDC - Bengals 31, Texans 16.
Oh, we're gonna lose. Mainly because this isn't a playoff game against Cinci. The question is, how ugly will it be?
The answer is "love child of Andrew Luck and Paula Poundstone-level ugly." If A.J. Green doesn't have 150+ yards, it will only be because he got injured or because Tyler Eifert got every single target (which isn't a bad plan if you are Andy Dalton).
Matt Weston - Bengals 41, Texans 24.
The Bengals will go up 24-0, Bill O'Brien will continue to play his starters in a meaningless setting, and they will make it look closer by the end of it.
Brett Kollmann - Bengals 27, Texans 20.
I think Cincy dominates in the first half, Bill O'Brien makes great adjustments for the second half, and yet the Texans will still come up just a bit short in the last five minutes because, well...that's what always happens.
Capt. Ron - Texans 24, Bengals 21.
I was about to say something along the lines of Bengals 38, Texans 17. Then I considered the number of head-scratching upsets that happened around the NFL this weekend, so I'm going with an upset here.
bfMFd - Bengals 31, Texans 13.
If there was ever a match-up nightmare for your Houston Texans, it's the Bungles. Geno Atkins might literally eat Ben Jones, and we have nobody on the roster who can cover either A.J. Green or Tyler Eifert. I don't think it's a Falcons/Dolphins-style blowout, but I don't think we can hang in the second half. Look for a big game from J.J. Watt, who has a great matchup against RT Andre Smith's backup, Eric Winston a/k/a Winstonsaurus. Of course, if we actually move Watt around like we used to...
Basically, make sure you load up on booze on the way home from work Monday evening, and call in sick Tuesday.
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