There will be an interesting game played next Monday night before a national television audience. It pits two American Football Conference (AFC) teams headed in different directions. The Houston Texans are the visitors in this upcoming contest, a squad that finds itself in second place in the AFC South Division with a Won-Loss record of 3-5.
Surprisingly, Houston finds itself just a half game behind the first place Indianapolis Colts, another team with a losing record. The Colts have won just four of nine games.
Monday night’s home team, the Cincinnati Bengals, has been great so far this season. The squad from Ohio has won eight games without a loss and sits atop the North Division in the AFC, three-and-one-half games ahead of the second place Pittsburgh Steelers.
Many analysts believe that the Bengals will emerge from the AFC as the team that represents the conference in this season’s Super Bowl. There are reasons why “the experts” feel strongly about the Bengals.
For openers, Cincinnati is led by Andy Dalton, a franchise quarterback having a “breakout year.” He has been playing well since the season began more than two months ago. Cincinnati also has lots of team speed and high-achieving skill players on offense and on defense. It is, for this squad, a lethal combination and the primary reason why the Bengals have not lost a game.
The visiting Houston Texans were supposed to compete for a postseason invitation, but have yet to show any signs that they will still be playing in January. With a Won-Loss record of 3-5, Houston still has a “puncher’s chance” of winning its division because the first place Colts have the same number of losses and only one more win.
But Indianapolis has begun looking like “the team to beat” in the South Division. That means Houston will have to raise its level of play if it hopes to finish in first place.
It may be a more reachable goal for the Texans to win one of two available Wild Cards. But even that looks like a “long shot” at this time because the Texans will have to start winning enough games so that they can “leapfrog” teams they currently trail.
The bottom line for this game is that both squads should be motivated and hungry for a win. Cincinnati wants to remain undefeated and will have thousands of loyal fans urging it on. The visitors from Texas are already desperate and need to win this game in order to remain viable.
It won’t be easy to upset the Bengals, but Houston can “put points on the board.” It will have to score early and often to prevail in this tough road contest.
Courtesy of Fox Sports