NFL: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Houston Texans Preview — Can Andy Dalton Win 9 Straight?

On tonight’s edition of Monday Night Football, Andy Dalton will try to lead the Cincinnati Bengals to a 9-0 start as they host the Houston Texans in Paul Brown Stadium.

It’s no wonder, as Bleacher Report noted, that the Cincinnati Bengals are a 13-point favorite over the Houston Texans tonight, according to Vegas odds. Cincinnati traveled to Houston last year during Week 12 and beat the Texans on their home turf 22-13. The Bengals were 6-3-1 going into last year’s game, compared to 8-0 this year. The Texans were a even 5-5 going into last year’s game, compared to 3-5 this year. The Bengals are an even better team now than they were in 2014, whereas the Texans have slipped a little. And the Bengals didn’t have home field advantage last year.

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But before that game, the Texans had beaten the Bengals five times in a row. Also, as NFL.com commented, there is a history of Andy Dalton not performing well in primetime games. Will Cincinnati be able to keep the momentum swinging in their favor? Can they keep up with the Patriots and Panthers, the other two undefeated teams?

At 8-0 in the AFC North, the Cincinnati Bengals have a very comfortable grasp on first place. Even if they lost to the Texans, they would be three games ahead of the second place Pittsburgh Steelers. Up against the best defensive end in the game (J.J. Watt) and a top ten passing defense, Andy Dalton will have to be on top of his game, getting rid of the ball quickly. On the defensive side of things, they’re up against a statistically average quarterback in Brian Hoyer with a receiver (DeAndre Hopkins) that is a serious threat. With 23 sacks this season (the fifth most going into Week 10), the Bengals defense will have to put a lot of pressure on Hoyer tonight.

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Despite their losing record, a win over the Bengals would put the Houston Texans in a tie for first place in the AFC South with the Colts, just a half game ahead of the Jaguars and two games ahead of the last-place Titans. With a division so evenly bad, everyone still has a chance to win the division and make the playoffs — possibly with a losing record. To get past the Bengals, the Texans may depend on their rushing game, even though they currently average less than 90 rushing yards per game. The Bengals are much better at defending the pass, and will have to put a lot of focus on Hopkins. On defense, they’re up against Dalton with at least three serious targets (A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, and Marvin Jones), while both Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill have proven to be capable of serious damage.

Andy Dalton is having the best year of his career, and the Katy, Texas, native looks to get his second consecutive win over Houston. He has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league this year, and if he has a good game tonight, he could be the highest ranked QB in most fantasy leagues. Even an average game out of Dalton tonight would almost certainly put him in the top four.

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Based on standard scoring at NFL.com’s fantasy site, Andy Dalton (16.98) was projected to be the No. 10 QB in the league this week, while Brian Hoyer (11.44) comes in at almost last. Dalton targets A.J. Green (15.90) and tight end Tyler Eifert (14.30) were projected to be top 25 non-QB offensive players this week, as was Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins (15.40). Cincinnati running back Giovani Bernard is projected to score 15.60 points, and Marvin Jones (12.50) takes the 48th spot. Houston has no other players projected to score in the top 50.

The Houston Defense (7.00) is actually projected higher than the Cincinnati Defense (4.50), but the Bengals kicker, Mike Nugent, is one of many kickers to be projected to score 11.00 this week.

The Cincinnati Bengals host the Houston Texans with a kickoff time of 8:30/7:30c. You can catch the game on ESPN or stream it with the NFL Game Pass.

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