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Cincinnati Bengals vs. Houston Texans Pick & Prediction DEC 27TH 2020

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The image of Deshaun Watson gazing in disbelief after another costly late-game fumble against the Indianapolis Colts is sure to linger with Houston Texans fans.

The quarterback and the Texans (4-10) will attempt to rebound Sunday when they host the Cincinnati Bengals (3-10-1).


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Watson had once again dragged the short-handed Texans to the brink of victory with his exceptional play against the Colts, only to be undermined by a second red-zone turnover in three weeks. Houston lost each those two games to Indianapolis on either side of a loss at Chicago.

The juxtaposition of the results for the Texans this season against Watson and his impressive performances will resonate into an offseason during which the Texans will have multiple needs to address, including vacancies at head coach and general manager.

Watson is the one constant. No one would question his bona fides as a top signal-caller, considering he ranks second in the NFL in passing yards (4,134) and passer rating (110.6) despite attrition at the Texans' skill positions.

"I think all of that will make him better because he's able to adapt to the receivers that he has on the field and he can still put up the good numbers," Texans interim coach Romeo Crennel said. "I think that when he gets a consistent crew, that'll just make him better down the line.

"Even though he's had good numbers, I think that he will say that the fact that we're not winning doesn't satisfy him. I think his choice would be to have good numbers and to have a lot of wins to go along with it."


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The two demoralizing losses to Indianapolis left the Texans assured of a losing record this season following back-to-back AFC South division titles.

The Bengals' 27-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday qualified as impressive at face value. Cincinnati was riding a five-game overall losing streak, had dropped 11 consecutive games against its AFC North rival and was a double-digit underdog entering the primetime affair.

Cincinnati overcame those odds, doing so with a third-string quarterback (Ryan Finley) and without their leading receiver, Tyler Boyd, who was knocked from the contest in the early stages after sustaining a concussion.

The Bengals appear undaunted by the chore of traveling to Houston during the holidays to square off with the Texans. Preparedness hasn't been an issue.


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"It hasn't been a challenge to get these guys focused at all, to be quite honest, and I think that shows on how we played the other week," Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. "This week there's a lot of things to manage. It's a short week, we're on the road, you've got Christmas. But again, I've got a lot of faith in our guys to handle it the right way and we've laid out our expectations for them. And we know that they'll be pros about it."

Playing out the string of a 16-game schedule is a task in itself. Doing so during a pandemic-altered season can sap enthusiasm. The Bengals might still be without Boyd and quarterback Brandon Allen (knee) against the Texans, but their effort Monday provided a bit of a boost, perhaps enough to carry Cincinnati through the final two games of the schedule.

"This was something that we all needed," Bengals running back Giovani Bernard said of beating the Steelers. "It's something that I'm sure everybody is proud of."

--Field Level Media

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Cincinnati Bengals

Houston Texans

Player Position Lineup
Jessie Bates III primary: Safety Starter
Giovani Bernard primary: Runningback Starter
Alex Erickson primary: Wide Receiver Starter
A.J. Green primary: Wide Receiver Starter
Bobby Hart primary: Right Tackle Starter
Trey Hopkins primary: Center Starter
Sam Hubbard primary: Left Defensive End Starter
William Jackson III primary: Cornerback Starter
Fred Johnson primary: Left Tackle Starter
Carl Lawson primary: Right Defensive End Starter
Darius Phillips primary: Cornerback Starter
Germaine Pratt primary: Linebacker Starter
Drew Sample primary: Tight End Starter
Xavier Su'a-Filo primary: Left Guard Starter
Vonn Bell primary: Safety Starter
Mackensie Alexander primary: Cornerback Starter
Josh Bynes primary: Linebacker Starter
Tee Higgins primary: Wide Receiver Starter
Brandon Allen primary: Quarterback Starter
Mike Daniels primary: Nose Tackle Starter
Christian Covington primary: Defensive Tackle Starter
Quinton Spain primary: Right Guard Starter
Cethan Carter primary: Tight End Substitution
Clark Harris primary: Long Snapper Substitution
Kevin Huber primary: Punter Substitution
Trenton Irwin primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Michael Jordan primary: Guard Substitution
Stanley Morgan Jr. primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Billy Price primary: Center Substitution
Mason Schreck primary: Tight End Substitution
Shawn Williams primary: Defensive Back Substitution
Trayveon Williams primary: Halfback Substitution
Brandon Wilson primary: Safety Substitution
Tony Brown primary: Cornerback Substitution
LeShaun Sims primary: Cornerback Substitution
Akeem Davis-Gaither primary: Linebacker Substitution
Khalid Kareem primary: Defensive End Substitution
Hakeem Adeniji primary: Offensive Tackle Substitution
Markus Bailey primary: Linebacker Substitution
Mike Thomas primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Samaje Perine primary: Halfback Substitution
Amani Bledsoe primary: Defensive End Substitution
Keandre Jones primary: Linebacker Substitution
Austin Seibert primary: Kicker Substitution
Xavier Williams primary: Defensive Tackle Substitution
Margus Hunt primary: Defensive Tackle Substitution
Tyler Boyd primary: Wide Receiver Not active
Randy Bullock primary: Kicker Not active
Jordan Evans primary: Linebacker Not active
Ryan Finley primary: Quarterback Did not play
Logan Wilson primary: Linebacker Not active
Keaton Sutherland primary: Guard Not active
Alex Redmond primary: Guard Not active
Jalen Davis primary: Cornerback Did not play
B.J. Finney primary: Guard Not active
Player Position Lineup
Tyrell Adams primary: Linebacker Starter
Keke Coutee primary: Wide Receiver Starter
Keion Crossen primary: Cornerback Starter
Zach Cunningham primary: Linebacker Starter
Zach Fulton primary: Right Guard Starter
Lonnie Johnson Jr. primary: Safety Starter
Roderick Johnson primary: Right Tackle Starter
Jacob Martin primary: Linebacker Starter
Nick Martin primary: Center Starter
A.J. Moore Jr. primary: Safety Starter
Charles Omenihu primary: Defensive End Starter
Laremy Tunsil primary: Left Tackle Starter
Carlos Watkins primary: Defensive Tackle Starter
Deshaun Watson primary: Quarterback Starter
J.J. Watt primary: Defensive End Starter
David Johnson primary: Runningback Starter
Brent Qvale primary: Left Guard Starter
Vernon Hargreaves III primary: Cornerback Starter
Brandin Cooks primary: Wide Receiver Starter
John Reid primary: Cornerback Starter
Chad Hansen primary: Wide Receiver Starter
Pharaoh Brown primary: Tight End Starter
Jordan Akins primary: Tight End Substitution
Bryan Anger primary: Punter Substitution
Cornell Armstrong primary: Cornerback Substitution
Ka'imi Fairbairn primary: Kicker Substitution
Darren Fells primary: Tight End Substitution
Buddy Howell primary: Runningback Substitution
Peter Kalambayi primary: Inside Linebacker Substitution
Senio Kelemete primary: Guard Substitution
Steven Mitchell primary: Wide Receiver Substitution
Brennan Scarlett primary: Outside Linebacker Substitution
Max Scharping primary: Guard Substitution
Kahale Warring primary: Tight End Substitution
Jon Weeks primary: Long Snapper Substitution
Nate Hall primary: Inside Linebacker Substitution
Jonathan Owens primary: Safety Substitution
Anthony Chesley primary: Cornerback Substitution
Ross Blacklock primary: Defensive Tackle Substitution
Jonathan Greenard primary: Outside Linebacker Substitution
Charlie Heck primary: Offensive Tackle Substitution
Scottie Phillips primary: Runningback Substitution
Auzoyah Alufohai primary: Defensive Tackle Substitution
Kyle Emanuel primary: Inside Linebacker Substitution
Andrew Brown primary: Defensive Tackle Substitution
Dontrell Hilliard primary: Runningback Substitution
Mark Fields II primary: Cornerback Substitution
Phillip Gaines primary: Cornerback Not active
Duke Johnson primary: Runningback Not active
AJ McCarron primary: Quarterback Did not play
Isaiah Coulter primary: Wide Receiver Not active
C.J. Prosise primary: Runningback Not active
Josh McCown primary: Quarterback Not active

Cincinnati Bengals

Houston Texans

  • Match Start
  • Period 1
  • MIN 1
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 21 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Ka'imi Fairbairn
  • MIN 8
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 8 Yards
    • Passer: Brandon Allen
    • Pass Receiver: Drew Sample
    • Conv Kicker: Austin Seibert
  • Period 2
  • MIN 1
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 25 Yards
    • Passer: Deshaun Watson
    • Pass Receiver: Brandin Cooks
    • Conv Kicker: Ka'imi Fairbairn
  • MIN 3
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 35 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Austin Seibert
  • Period 3
  • MIN 0
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 2 Yards
    • Pass Receiver: David Johnson
    • Conv Kicker: Ka'imi Fairbairn
    • Passer: Deshaun Watson
  • MIN 5
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 20 Yards
    • Pass Receiver: Tee Higgins
    • Conv Kicker: Austin Seibert
    • Passer: Brandon Allen
  • MIN 9
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Rush
    • 4 Yards
    • Rusher: David Johnson
    • Conv Kicker: Ka'imi Fairbairn
  • MIN 12
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Rush
    • 46 Yards
    • Conv Kicker: Austin Seibert
    • Rusher: Samaje Perine
  • Period 4
  • MIN 0
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 36 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Austin Seibert
  • MIN 1
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Rush
    • 3 Yards
    • Conv Kicker: Austin Seibert
    • Rusher: Samaje Perine
  • MIN 6
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 22 Yards
    • Pass Receiver: Darren Fells
    • Conv Kicker: Ka'imi Fairbairn
    • Passer: Deshaun Watson
  • MIN 10
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 48 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Austin Seibert
  • Match End

GAMES

Last 10

W 30% L 70%
3 7
  • Baltimore L 38 - 3
  • @Houston W 37 - 31
  • Pittsburgh W 17 - 27
  • Dallas L 30 - 7
  • @Miami L 7 - 19
  • N.Y. Giants L 19 - 17
  • @Washington L 9 - 20
  • @Pittsburgh L 10 - 36
  • Tennessee W 20 - 31
  • Cleveland L 37 - 34
W 30% L 70%
3 7
  • Tennessee L 41 - 38
  • Cincinnati L 37 - 31
  • @Indianapolis L 20 - 27
  • @Chicago L 7 - 36
  • Indianapolis L 26 - 20
  • @Detroit W 41 - 25
  • New England W 20 - 27
  • @Cleveland L 7 - 10
  • @Jacksonville W 27 - 25
  • Green Bay L 35 - 20

Last Meetings

  • Bengals @ Texans 37-31
  • Texans @ Bengals 13-9
  • Bengals @ Texans 10-12
  • Texans @ Bengals 10-6
  • Bengals @ Texans 22-13
  • Bengals @ Texans 13-19
  • Bengals @ Texans 10-31
  • Texans @ Bengals 20-19
  • Texans @ Bengals 28-17
  • Bengals @ Texans 6-35

American Football Conference

AFC EastWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Buffalo Bills133 0.8130.00.00.0 7-16-29-0-1
Miami Dolphins106 0.6253.00.00.0 5-35-37-0-3
New England Patriots79 0.4386.00.00.0 5-32-65-0-5
New York Jets214 0.12511.00.00.0 1-71-72-0-8
AFC NorthWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Pittsburgh Steelers124 0.7500.00.00.0 7-15-36-0-4
Baltimore Ravens115 0.6881.00.00.0 5-36-26-0-4
Cleveland Browns115 0.6881.00.00.0 6-25-37-0-3
Cincinnati Bengals411 1.2677.50.00.0 3-51-63-1-7
AFC SouthWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Indianapolis Colts115 0.6880.00.00.0 6-25-37-0-3
Tennessee Titans115 0.6880.00.00.0 5-36-26-0-4
Houston Texans412 0.2507.00.00.0 2-62-63-0-7
Jacksonville Jaguars115 0.06310.00.00.0 1-70-81-0-10
AFC WestWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Kansas City Chiefs142 0.8750.00.00.0 6-28-09-0-1
Las Vegas Raiders88 0.5006.00.00.0 2-66-25-0-5
Los Angeles Chargers79 0.4387.00.00.0 4-43-55-0-5
Denver Broncos511 0.3139.00.00.0 2-63-53-0-7

National Football Conference

NFC EastWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Washington Football Team79 0.4380.00.00.0 3-54-46-0-4
Dallas Cowboys610 0.3751.00.00.0 4-42-64-0-6
New York Giants610 0.3751.00.00.0 3-53-55-0-5
Philadelphia Eagles411 1.2672.50.00.0 3-41-73-1-7
NFC NorthWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Green Bay Packers133 0.8130.00.00.0 7-16-28-0-2
Chicago Bears88 0.5005.00.00.0 3-55-33-0-7
Minnesota Vikings79 0.4386.00.00.0 3-54-46-0-4
Detroit Lions511 0.3138.00.00.0 1-74-42-0-8
NFC SouthWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
New Orleans Saints124 0.7500.00.00.0 6-26-28-0-2
Tampa Bay Buccaneers115 0.6881.00.00.0 5-36-27-0-3
Carolina Panthers511 0.3137.00.00.0 2-63-52-0-8
Atlanta Falcons412 0.2508.00.00.0 2-62-63-0-7
NFC WestWL DPRCGBHOMEAWAYPAST L10
Seattle Seahawks124 0.7500.00.00.0 7-15-37-0-3
Los Angeles Rams106 0.6252.00.00.0 6-24-46-0-4
Arizona Cardinals88 0.5004.00.00.0 4-44-44-0-6
San Francisco 49ers610 0.3756.00.00.0 1-75-33-0-7

Last Injuries