On Monday afternoon in this space, I wrote the following:
PUT YOUR NAME ON IT: This game screams "First Half Blowout" to me. It's disheartening to say that I'm reduced to hoping that the Texans avoid falling behind 40 points or more before halftime like they did to the Falcons and Dolphins, but that's where I am. I expect tonight's game to be over at intermission, with the Texans piling up big and meaningless numbers in the second half as the Bengals simply strive to keep everyone healthy for Week 11. The final score will be Bengals 37, Texans 24. But it won't be anywhere near that close.
Then, just as I predicted, the Texans beat the Bengals by a final score of 10-6.
If that doesn't show you exactly how gifted I am, nothing will. Now that I've proven my bona fides, there's no need for any additional introduction. Here's how it's going to go down when the Houston Texans host the New York Jets at NRG Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
1. In his first start in almost four years (yes, I know Bill O'Brien has not yet declared Brian Hoyer out for Sunday's game, but I trust Aaron Wilson), T.J. Yates will post numbers similar to what he's done over the course of his career. Which is to say that I expect him to complete less than 60% of his passes for under 220 yards. In terms of TDs and INTs, I see 1 TD and 2 INTs.
2. It stands to reason that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be fired up to play the team that traded him away over the offseason (probably not as pumped as he was to play the Bills last season, but this won't be just another game to Fitzpatrick). I think that excitement might result in him pressing, which will be to the Texans' advantage. It says here that Fitzmagic throws one interception as the Jets rely on Chris Ivory to do most of the heavy lifting between the tackles throughout the afternoon.
I thought the Bengals, especially with Giovani Bernard, had some success running the ball and with the screen game (remember the first quarter when the Bengals were on offense?) on Monday night, so I was surprised they didn't use it more. I don't expect the same mistake from the Jets. Maybe not so much with the screen game, but Ivory is going to get a lot of work. We should find out quickly if Houston's defense really has corrected some of the deficiencies it showed through the first seven games of the season.
3. Other quick statistical hits...
-DeAndre Hopkins will be targeted 15 times, but he'll only catch 7 of them. Nuk will be kept out of the end zone.
-Alfred Blue will continue to pace the Texans' running backs in carries despite again averaging less than 3.0 yards per carry, just as he has in five of the eight games he's played in this season.
-This will be the game the Texans actually throw to a RB not named Arian Foster. Jonathan Grimes will finish with over 35 yards receiving.
-Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt each get a sack of Fitzpatrick.
PUT YOUR NAME ON IT: I can foresee a way the Texans win this game. Remember that Bill O'Brien did win two games last year with Case Keenum under center in large part because he made sure to play to Keenum's strengths, not asking Keenum to do too much. If O'Brien and his staff put together a game plan that takes advantage of their knowledge of Ryan Fitzpatrick's tendencies and Yates takes care of the ball, the defense could lead the Texans to a win. Although Chris Ivory, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and the Jets' defense are wholly legit, New York is not a team that should run away and hide. It's going to be a one-score game regardless.
I might even go so far as picking the Texans to win if Brian Hoyer was starting at QB. Maybe. Ultimately, as much as I want to buy the idea of O'Brien putting together an offensive game plan that shocks the world and the defense continuing to dominate like it has the last two games, I have to give the edge to the Jets. Jets 17, Texans 13.
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