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Texans vs. Bengals Pick with Analysis
John J. Raspanti
The Texans (9-3) and winners of six in a row are flying high even starting their third string quarterback while the Bengals (7-5) hit the ground hard last weekend against the Steelers. Houston rookie quarterback T.J. Yates gets his first taste of life on the road as he starts his second consecutive game. Yates played pretty well last week in the Texans 17-10 victory over Atlanta. He completed roughly half his passes and threw for 188 yards. Yates thanked his coach after the victory.
"I was extremely comfortable out there," he said. "Coach Kubiak throughout the week we had a lot of talks and he instilled a lot of confidence in me."
The strength of the Texans offense is their ability to run the ball effectively. Arian Foster has gained over 900 yards on the ground and caught 41 passes. Ben Tate spells Foster to the turn of over five yards a carry. Wide receiver Owen Daniels leads the team in receptions with 44. Veteran Andre Johnson has contributed 31 catches.
The Texans look to their number one ranked defense to set the tone and make some plays. Third year player Brian Cushing leads the team in tackles and assists. Strong safety Glover Quinn has collected 58 tackles while linebacker Demarco Ryans has 41. Coach Kubiak has been very pleased with the development of cornerback Kareem Jackson.
"He's had a lot of ups and downs," Kubiak said of Jackson, the team's first round choice in 2010. Kubiak added that the additions of CB Johnathan Joseph and S Danieal Manning have helped Jackson to improve.
The Bengals, losers of three of their four remain confident.
"It doesn't shake the confidence," WR Andre Caldwell said. "It's a humbler. It let us know we've still got a lot of work to do."
Young quarterback Andy Dalton hit a rough patch against the Steelers last weekend. Dalton has completed 59 percent of his passes and tossed 17 touchdowns. The rookie is telling his teammates to forget about the Steelers game. Cedric Benson has rushed for 792 yards. Dalton looks for fellow rookie A.J. Green every chance he gets. Green has caught 50 passes and scored six times. Jermaine Simpson is a distant second in passes caught with 36. The Bengal defense has remained solid. Free safety Reggie Nelson and Thomas Howard continue to perform consistently. Middle linebacker Ray Maualuga has collected 65 tackles while Geno Atkins has six sacks.
The Texans roll into Cincinnati seeking victory number ten. The Bengals are thrilled to be playing at home where they've won three of four. Can T.J. Yates hold up under the pressure?
Bettorsworld Bottom Line - Even with the injuries, we think the Texans are the better team. They aren't winning with QB's and Wide Receivers. They are winning with a running game and an offensive and defensive line. Perhaps the way to look here is the total. Two rookie QB's going up against two good defenses on what will likely be a colt day in Cinci.
Two plays here: Texans +3 -120 and Under 38.5
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