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To get ready for the matchup, Chris Roling from the Bengals Wire helps preview the game.
Texans Wire: How safe is Zac Taylor’s job? Does he get any benefit of the doubt?
CR: Taylor’s job is likely safe after the upset of Pittsburgh on Monday night. That’s a little silly for a coach who is 5-24-1 over two seasons so far, but that just speaks to the extent of the problem the team has had against their bitter rivals over the years. His seat is probably still warm, but odds are we’ll just see massive change to the staff around him.
TW: How excited are fans for Joe Burrow’s second year? Texans fans couldn’t wait for 2018 when Deshaun Watson tore his ACL.
CR: Fans are thrilled, to say the least. He was arguably a generational quarterback prospect and he has the built-in hometown storyline going for him considering he’s from Athens, Ohio. He’s a local kid and it’s giving off vibes of Carson Palmer’s anticipated return from an ACL tear all those years ago. Feel free to add in the fact fans couldn’t really get to the stadium to see him this year, too.
TW: Did the Bengals even have a chance this year?
CR: They had a chance to win more games than they ended up winning, for sure. But the massive amount of roster turnover this past offseason still wasn’t enough as a new staff tries to implement new schemes after the organization had 16 straight years of the prior coaching staff. Some key miscues — like the brutal mishandling of the offensive line — didn’t help things. There was a chance, but we’re talking going from two wins to maybe five.
TW: How was D.J. Reader working out for you guys until he got hurt?
CR: Reader was exactly what Texans fans would expect, but on an increased snap count. The Bengals never got to get him going next to Geno Atkins due to an injury, but he was worth every penny of a contract that made him the highest-paid nose tackle in football.
TW: Why was Ryan Finley successful against the Steelers?
CR: The Steelers were largely shooting themselves in the foot. Finley had some nice improvisation on a few plays, but the Bengals stuck to the run and largely kept the ball out of his hands.
TW: Who are a couple Bengals Houston fans need to watch out for?
CR: Jessie Bates is arguably the NFL’s best safety right now and he’s always around the football thanks to elite range, so he’s got the ability to make game-changing plays. Carl Lawson also just had the game of his career against the Steelers, so he’s probably going to keep on that pace as he looks to earn a big-money contract in free agency.
TW: What is your prediction?
CR: Deshaun Watson isn’t a hindrance under center like Big Ben is right now. He’s an elite weapon who has diced up the Bengals in the past. Cincinnati also won’t get the benefit of the Texans simply not looking like they want to play at all like they did against the Steelers. Texans, 24-17.