Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
When: Thursday, September 14, 2017, 8:25 PM ET
TV Broadcast: NFL Network
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What You Need to Know
The Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals were both blowout out of their home barns last Sunday. The Bengals dropped a 20-0 decision to the Baltimore Ravens, while the Texans were destroyed by the lackluster Jacksonville Jaguars 29-7. While it was the Jags defence that made the difference, the lack of Houston’s D was pretty obvious. This is something the Bengals should also be able to take advantage of on Thursday night.
The Bengals are the team that always just can’t quite get over the hump. One thing is for sure, though, and that’s that their home opener was not a preface for what’s ahead. Across the board, nobody truly faired well in their home openers last week, so lets just move on. This game offers something a little different for Cincy. They’ll be facing a team with a deadly defence (when they show up) and a mediocre offence. The Texans will be without former rookie of the year linebacker Brian Cushing on their backend and will not be as strong as touted heading into the new season. Cincy can capitalize on this on offence by isolating JJ Watt with Joe Mixon and Gio Bernard’s speed to the outside. They can also take advantage of Houston’s lacklustre secondary with AJ Green downfield.
Meanwhile, on defence, while the team will be without Vontaze Burfict up the middle, they will have Vincent Rey and sophomore Nick Vigil filling his shoes. Both led the Bengals in tackles last week and should provide a nice cushion for the suspended vet.
Defensive end Michael Johnson along with guard Trey Hopkins are listed as out for this game. Meanwhile, rookie wideout John Ross, safety Shaun Williams and tight end CJ Uzomah are currently listed as questionable for this contest.
Rookie vs Rookie
While the Houston Texans will be starting their 12th overall selection Deshaun Watson at quarterback, look for Bengals second round running back Joe Mixon to be tilling the turf on the other side of the ball. Mixon did not get the amount of touches he was looking for as the team had to try and claw back through the air to overcome a 20-point deficit. This game should have a much different approach to it; one where Cincy takes advantage of their strong run game early on and never looks back.
The Bengals don’t beat the spread (+6.5) but win 23-20.
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