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TALE OF THE TAPE

Wild Card Weekend: Cincinnati Bengals At Houston Texans

Bengals
Texans
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Quarterback
Winner The Bengals closed out the season with seven wins in their last eight games and that earned them a rematch with the team that defeated them in last year’s playoffs. Andy Dalton has had two solid years and has size, arm strength and a quick release. Dalton completed 62.2 percent of his passes this season and has a 26-16 TD-interception ratio.
Matt Schaub is under serious pressure as the Texans struggled down the stretch by losing three of their last four games. Schaub has good season-long numbers – he completed 64.2 percent of his passes and has a 22-10 TD-interception ratio – but his play has been lifeless over the last month of the season and he must turn it around.
Offense
The Bengals have a couple of big-play threats at the wide receiver position in A.J. Green and Andrew Hawkins. Green is a remarkable athlete who caught 97 passes for 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns. Hawkins has the speed and quickness to cause havoc. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a solid runner who can finish his runs and keep drives alive.
Winner Running back Arian Foster is one of the top three running backs in the league and he has to be at his best if the Texans are going to reverse their recent trends. Foster can run inside and bowl over tacklers and also get to the outside. Andre Johnson caught 100 passes for 1,457 yards but had just four touchdowns. Johnson needs to find a way to get in the endzone.
Defense
Winner The Bengals have one of the best defensive fronts in football. Not only can they shut down the interior run, they can put pressure on opposing passers. Geno Atkins had a remarkable season at the defensive tackle position with 53 tackles, 12.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap (6.0 sacks) is a sensational athlete who had an interception return for a touchdown against the Ravens in Week !7.
The Texans ranked 9th overall on defense, but they were 15th against the pass. They have been vulnerable against the pass in recent weeks and they will need to turn it around in order to have a chance in the postseason. Defensive end J.J. Watt finished the year with 20.5 sacks and 16 passes defensed. Strong safety Glover Quin led the team with 84 tackles.
Special Teams
Winner The Bengals have solid special teams and the presence of Adam Jones gives them a legitimate threat as a punt returner. Placekicker Josh Brown has been quite solid as a fill-in for Mike Nugent, making 11-of-12 field goal attempts in four games. Kevin Huber has averaged 46.6 yards per punt.
Even when the Texans were playing well, their special teams were letting them down. They gave up their third return for a score in their Week 17 loss to the Colts. Shayne Graham has had a decent year, connecting on 31-of-38 field goal attempts.

The Winner Is

Winner Bengals
3 out of 4

The Bengals would like to get revenge against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs. While the Texans have homefield advantage, the Bengals have momentum and the ability to make big plays on offense and defense. It seems like the fire has gone out under the Texans and it will be difficult to relight the pilot.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons signals to his team during their NFL game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 18, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18:  Quarterback  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints hands off to Mark Ingram #22 during the first quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 18, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
    Week 3 Tale Of The Tape: Atlanta Falcons At New Orleans Saints

    The NFC South rivals meet in the Big Easy with Brees and company looking for their first win.

  2. CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19: Danny Trevathan #59 and Akiem Hicks #96 of the Chicago Bears
stop Ryan Mathews #24 of the Philadelphia Eagles
at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Eagels defeated the Bears 29-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates with teammates center Travis Frederick #72 and offensive guard La\'el Collins #71 after scoring a third quarter touchdown against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on September 18, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Week 3 Tale Of The Tape: Chicago Bears At Dallas Cowboys

    The Cowboys rookies have looked good the first two weeks, now they get the winless and injury plagued Bears at home.

  3. PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 18: Xavier Grimble #85 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates his touchdown with Ben Roethlisberger #7 in the first quarter during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field on September 18, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19:  Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles hands off the football to Ryan Mathews #24 in the first half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Week 3 Tale Of The Tape: Pittsburgh Steelers At Philadelphia Eagles

    The two Pennsylvania teams have gotten off to 2-0 starts. Who will win the battle for interstate bragging rights?

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