Cincinnati Bengals vs. Houston Texans Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 12th 2023

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The football world will be watching this week to see what rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud can do for an encore as his Houston Texans visit the red-hot Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon.

Last week, the rookie quarterback out of Ohio State led the Texans (4-4) past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 39-37, authoring a game-winning, six-play, 75-yard drive that took all of 40 seconds, capped by a 15-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Tank Dell.

Stroud completed 30 of 42 passes for 470 yards, five touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 147.8. In the process, he set the NFL single-game record for passing yards by a rookie, surpassing the previous record set by Marc Bulger (453) in 2002.

“I think it’s something that can get us rolling,” Stroud said. “Momentum is everything in this league and in the game of football. We’ve got to ride this momentum and work really hard in practice this week.”

He is the sixth player in NFL history to record at least 450 passing yards and five touchdown passes with no interceptions in a game. In eight games, Stroud has 14 touchdown passes and just one interception.

“That was the one thing that stood out with C.J.,” Houston coach DeMeco Ryans said. “You see the passes that Tank caught, but just being able to slow the film down and pause it and see the precision of where those throws were — it’s just unreal to see how precise he was.”

Running back Dare Ogunbowale also had a brush with history, kicking a 29-yard go-ahead field goal, becoming the first non-kicker to convert a field goal since Wes Welker in 2004.

While the Texans have won four of six since starting 0-2, the Bengals (5-3) are looking for their fifth straight win after beating the visiting Buffalo Bills 24-18 last week.

The prime-time victory came in front of a crowd of 66,965 — the second largest in team history — and gave Cincinnati its 13th home win in its last 15 at Paycor Stadium, counting the regular season and postseason.

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow has been playing some of his best football over the course of the four-game win streak. Burrow has completed better than 70 percent of his passes in three of the past four games.

“Everything is trending in the right way,” Burrow said. “I’m accurate with the football right now. I’m making the right decisions. I’m happy with how I’m playing. I’ve got to continue to get better.”

One concern for the Bengals is health. Ja’Marr Chase sustained a bruised back when he fell trying to catch a deep ball against the Bills in the third quarter. He did not practice Wednesday and is considered day-to-day.

Tee Higgins, after putting together his best game of the season with eight catches and 110 yards against Buffalo, reportedly strained a hamstring in practice on Wednesday. Starting defensive edge Sam Hubbard tweaked an ankle last week and, like Chase, did not practice as the team began preparations for Houston.

The Cincinnati defense forced multiple turnovers for a fourth straight game and held its third consecutive opponent under 20 points.

The Bengals have 15 takeaways this season, tied for fourth in the NFL, and they are tied with the Los Angeles Chargers for tops in the league in turnover differential at plus-9.

“We preach it nonstop,” Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor said. “Our defensive staff does a great job with the turnover circuit. Our guys, they’ve all been here so long, and they know that’s how you win these games — these close games, particularly. They all do a great job.”

–Field Level Media

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