This is a re-match of last year’s AFC Wild Card game that the Texans won 31-10 on home soil. Playing in Houston will provide a real challenge for the Bengals, but they are the form team here. Cincinnati ended the regular season with seven wins out of their last eight, while Houston lost three of their last four after a strong start.
Where to Watch
Channel: Sky Sports 1HD (Sky Channel 401 or 408, Virgin channel 511)
Date: Saturday January 5, 2013
Time: 9:00 p.m.
Why to Watch
- The Bengals are seeking their first playoff win since 1990 and enter Reliant Stadium boasting one of the best defenses in the game. The Texans also boast some defensive stars of their own and are desperate to re-gain their form.
- The winner advances. The loser goes home. This is playoff football! What more reasons than that do you need to watch?
Who to Watch
Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97) – While his defensive line counterpart in Houston colours is likely to win Defensive MVP honours this season, Geno Atkins has become the dominant defensive tackle in the game. In fact, no defensive tackle has put together a season quite like his in years. Strong and cat-quick, Atkins will be a constant thorn in Houston’s side.
Texans defensive end JJ Watt (99) – The Texans have a defensive force of their own in JJ Watt, who broke out on the national stage in this game last year with an interception return for a touchdown. He has stayed there ever since. Strong and quick, Watt is a menace on running and passing plays.
The Expert’s View
The Bengals are the form team here given how out of sorts Matt Schaub and the Texans have looked in recent weeks. But it is tough to fully trust the Bengals offense, as well. I think this has the potential to be fairly low-scoring and I’m just about giving the edge to Houston, even though they are stumbling badly at the wrong time of the year – Neil Reynolds
By the Numbers
15… JJ Watt led the NFL with 15 passes batted down this season.
12.7… Over the past seven games, the Bengals defense has allowed just 12.7 points per contest.
109.3… Texans quarterback Matt Schaub has a passer rating of 109.3 off play-action passes. On normal passing plays in 2012, he has a rating of just 84.4.
Bengals’ Did you Know?
Boomer Esiason was the last quarterback to lead the Bengals to a playoff victory when they beat the Houston Oilers in the wild card round of the 1990 season.
Texans’ Did you Know?
Matt Schaub has thrown just 1 touchdown pass in Houston’s last four games – three of which were losses to New England, Minnesota and Indianapolis.
Form Guide – Last 5 Games
Bengals W L W W W
Texans W L W L L