Final preview, prediction for Bengals vs. Texans in Week 16

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Chris Roling
·2 min read
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Pretty much any and all predictions and projections got it wrong on the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 15.

There, the Bengals took down the Pittsburgh Steelers despite sitting as 14.5-point underdogs, getting a strong performance from a surging defense and some big plays from unexpected faces on offense.

Now the Bengals turn to Week 16, where the 4-10 Houston Texans play host.

On paper, the Bengals are a big underdog again. In the upset over Pittsburgh, the offense only let Ryan Finley attempt 13 passes. Should Houston clamp down on that, it’s going to cause problems — especially as the passing attack misses top wideout Tyler Boyd, who won’t be able to give it a go due to a concussion.

Cincinnati’s defense has been steadily improving over the last few weeks as guys rally around names like Jessie Bates and Vonn Bell. But the unit also got the benefit of playing against a horrendous Ben Roethlisberger during the upset.

Deshaun Watson is no Big Ben.

Watson has gashed the Bengals in the past, as fans are surely aware. And while he’s dealing with a coaching staff that already fired a head coach, he’s still been his usual self by completing 69.9 percent of his passes with 4,134 yards and 27 touchdowns with just six interceptions.

There’s an angle where the Bengals keep rallying around Zac Taylor to finish the season strong, of course. But Watson isn’t going to gift the defense roughly nine interceptable passes like Big Ben did. And while the Houston defense has struggled, guys like J.J. Watt are still capable of feasting against this Bengals line.

Look for Watson to have a big game at home as the Bengals stumble on a short, holiday week.

Prediction: Texans 24, Bengals 17

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