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Houston Texans Look to Keep Postseason Hopes Alive Against Cincinnati

The AFC South Houston Texans host the AFC North Cincinnati Bengals in an important match up for both teams.

Houston is 5-5 on the season and 2-2 at home, while Cincinnati is 6-3-1 on the season and 2-2 on the road.

Odds makers currently have Houston favored by 1.5 points with the point total sitting on 43.5.

Last week’s play of quarterback’s Andy Dalton and Ryan Mallet gave their respective clubs reason to look toward the postseason, at least for one week.

Dalton, who had come off a three interception game in a loss to Cleveland, was rocked with fans criticizing him on social media leading up to the Bengals game with New Orleans.

He responded to that with 3 touchdown passes with his highest career passer rating in the Bengals 17-point victory over the Saints.

However, winning for Cincinnati has not come easy in Houston. The Bengals are 0-5 SU over their past five 5 including 2 of 3 opening round losses for Dalton in the postseason where he has 4 interceptions and zero touchdown passes.

Mallet replaced the struggling Ryan Fitzpatrick for Houston but looked nothing like a starter for the first time with 211 yards passing in 2 touchdowns as the Texans recorded 424 yards of offense with a 23-7 victory at Cleveland.

Mallett was helped by Alfred Blue, who ran for 156 yards on the ground, on 36 carries. Blue was starting for the first time in place of Arian Foster who is out injured.

Cincinnati leads the AFC North by a half game, but has must wins today and against Tampa Bay in a week, to give themselves a cushion for three tough closing games against division foes -  two against Pittsburgh – and a matchup with Denver.

Mallett might be the lift the Texans need to help them down the stretch as they try to catch Indianapolis in division play or grab a wildcard spot.

Houston knows that with six games left on the schedule it is still in the hunt, but needs victories to give itself a chance.

Foster is day to day for Houston. He was the leading rusher in the AFC when he hurt his groin at the start of November.

With Mallett starting, Houston was 9 out of 13 on third down conversions against New Orleans after converting on 3 of its 17 against Cleveland.

Blue’s 156 rushing yards were the most for a rookie at Houston since 2008 when Steven Slaton also ran for 156.

Cincinnati is 5-4-1 against the spread and the OVER/UNDER is 4-6.

Houston is 6-4 ATS and the OVER/UNDER is 6-4.

Pick: Houston must play error free ball against Cincinnati. The Texans must win their remaining games if they hope to play in the postseason. I like the Texans 24-17.


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