In 10 seasons, this is the Houston Texans' first-ever playoff appearance and the Bengals are seeking its first postseason win since 1990. Something's gotta give, right? The last time a playoff game was played in Houston Joe Montana was in a Kansas City Chief uniform as he defeated the Houston Oilers 28-20 on January 16, 1994.
This match-up also features a showdown between two rookie signal callers for the first time in playoff history, pretty impressive huh?
Both Houston's T.J. Yates and Cincy's Andy Dalton have turned heads with their leadership as rookies, and according to teammates neither have shown weaknesses in allowing the atmosphere of the playoff get to them. This week during practice, anyways. Come game time could be a whole different story.
The play of the quarterbacks, in my opinion, will not be the deciding factor in this game however. Rather, it will be the running game (and defense) that makes the difference. Houston has the league's second-best rushing attack, in terms of yardage at least, and Arian Foster is certain to get a huge workload today against Cincy's 10th-ranked run defense.
Houston is top five in overall (4th), pass (3rd) and run (4th) defense and will make for a rough day for Cedric Benson (1,067 yards, 6 TDs, 3.9 Y/A in regular season) and the Bengals' 19th-ranked running game. Without an efficient running attack there will be a lot of pressure on Dalton, and I think Houston's linebacking corps, led by Brian Cushing, will be too much for the young guy.
Houston, in its first playoff game in franchise history, will get the W today and live to play another week.
Cushing: Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images