One of the best parts of writing for FanSided is the access to experts for every team in the NFL. This week as the Houston Texans get ready to square off with the Cincinnati Bengals we were able to ask Connor Howe, from the Bengals FanSided page Stripe Hype, a few questions about the matchup.
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RG: Houston has struggled to slow down tight ends so far this season, how bad of a sign is that with Tyler Eifert on the opposite side of the field?
"CH:Eifert has been great this season, but his production isn’t very consistent just due to the fact that Cincinnati has drastically varied its game plan for each matchup its played this season. That being said, if Hue Jackson has noticed that the Texans struggle to stop opposing tight ends, he’s going to find a way to utilize Eifert. If Cincinnati chooses to go the Eifert route, the Texans could be in for a long game."
RG: On offense, does Cincinnati have any weaknesses? Eifert was mentioned and A.J. Green is a monster at receiver. Yet they also feature Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu at the position. Then there is the combination of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. How do you slow this team down, or can you?
"CH: In my somewhat biased opinion (although I try to stay objective), the Bengals have the NFL’s deepest roster. A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert and Marvin Jones have been fantastic, Mohamed Sanu has made some great plays and even Brandon Tate caught a huge touchdown pass against the Chiefs. And with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard still not having hit their stride, this Bengals offense is scary.That being said, we still haven’t seen any teams lock down the passing game and force Cincinnati to run the ball, so there’s still a chance that pass-committing and hoping that the defensive line can make some plays could potentially work. But to be honest, I don’t even think that would work. When it comes down to it, the Texans are going to have to try and force turnovers if they want to slow down Cincinnati’s offense."
RG: Hoyer is 2-0 against the Bengals, what is it he is able to do well against the team that helps him find a way to win?
"CH: While Hoyer is 2-0 against the Bengals, I think that the Bengals have been the team to beat themselves when they played Brian Hoyer. Andy Dalton has only swept the Browns once in his career, because he usually puts up a dud at least once in the two games he plays against Cleveland.But to answer your question, Hoyer is still a good quarterback. He is very intelligent and knows what the Bengals defense is going to try to do. Unfortunately, Houston’s offensive line is not nearly as reliable as Hoyer’s former line in Cleveland, so he could be in big trouble on Monday night. He’s going to need to get the ball out quickly and efficiently if the Texans are going to compete."
RG: DeAndre Hopkins has been amazing this season for the Texans, is there anyone on Cincinnati that can slow him down, or will they have to commit more than one person to following him?
"CH: Hopkins is playing great football, but because Arian Foster is out for the season and no other pass-catchers have really stepped up in Houston, Cincinnati is going to blanket Hopkins all night long. Adam Jones is playing at an All-Pro level, and Cincinnati’s safeties are incredibly good at preventing deep passes. I could see Hopkins gaining 80-100 yards through the air, but I don’t think that any of his catches are going to come from big splash plays, unless the Bengals miss tackles (which is a very real possibility)."
RG: Finally, who do you see winning this game and by what score?
"CH: I’ve yet to predict the Bengals to lose, and that’s worked out fairly well this season. I’ll say Cincinnati wins this one 24-6. The Bengals’ defense has been incredibly efficient in the red zone, and if the Bengals can continue to prevent deep passes, I don’t think they’ll give up a touchdown.Good luck to your Texans! You guys have a good shot at the South for sure!"
We would like to give a big thank you to Connor for his time and insight. To get to know the opponent a little better check out his site, Stripe Hype.