Matchup Problem: Arian Foster, RB
I know many Bengals fans are worried about Owen Daniels considering the team’s repeated troubles with tight ends, but I’m more worried about Foster. Cincy’s run defense wasw victimized last week by an inferior running back and a worse offensive line. They’ll need to rebound quickly to rescue their playoff hopes. If the defense can shut down Foster, one of the league’s best running backs, it’s hard to believe that Texans quarterback T.J. Yates could beat them by himself. Thus, Foster seems to be one of the game’s key matchups.
Player to Watch: A.J. Green, WR
If you remember the Buccaneers game last year (and frankly, I understand if you’ve repressed it), then Bengals cornerback Jonathan Joseph was repeatedly victimized by Mike Williams, a much taller receiver. Joseph will once again face a much taller opponent, but this time he’ll be wearing a Texans uniform. Green could make a few big plays by using his heighth and leaping ability against an undersized defensive back. After a dismal performance in Pittsburgh last week, it would be nice to see the Bengals offense bounce back in a big way on Sunday. Green can help them do that.
How the Bengals can win: Rarely has a game plan been so obvious. With the Texans starting a rookie quarterback and without game-breaking receiver Andre Johnson, the Bengals should load up on the line of scrimmage. It’s a good game to put eight defenders in the box and dare Yates to beat them by throwing the ball all over the field.
On offense, the team needs to limit mental mistakes and penalties, two things that killed their chances last week. I like Jermaine Gresham’s matchup against the Texans safeties and I also think Cincinnati can have some success running the ball. From a psychological standpoint, the team should be motivated to prove last week was a fluke and Marvin Lewis has called this game the biggest one in his tenure as a head coach.
He might be right. Now, let’s hope they’ll find a way to win it.