TEXANS (0-1) AT BENGALS (0-1), 8:25 p.m.
TV: NFL; Radio: WCBS (880)
Bengals by 6 1/2; O/U: 37 1/2
First, the bad news: The Bengals and Texans were two of the most disappointing teams in Week 1, both getting routed at home. Now, the good news: They don’t have to wait long to get back out there and erase the bad memories.
One of the few upsides of the Thursday night game is that teams who played poorly the week before get a quick chance to redeem themselves.
Cincinnati lost its home opener, 20-0, to the Ravens and it was bad. Andy Dalton threw four interceptions and fumbled once as the offense did nothing. Houston, meanwhile, gave Cincy a run for its money. In a 29-7 loss to the Jaguars, Tom Savage got benched for Deshaun Watson, and the banged-up Texans offensive line allowed 10 sacks, a Jacksonville franchise record. (Kudos to the Jaguars’ Twitter team for changing its handle to #Sacksonville).
Back to Houston: Adding injury to insult, the team had a whopping five players in the concussion protocol, including all three tight ends. Linebacker Brian Cushing is on that list too — and is now suspended 10 games for using PEDs — and J.J. Watt suffered a finger injury. If ever there was a time the Texans needed a few more days to heal, this is it.
Now, the Texans have to play an angry team at home trying to avoid an 0-2 start. Watson will start. He threw a touchdown in his debut, but wasn’t all that impressive, going 12-for-23 for 102 yards. As great as he was in college, he’s still a rookie, and this is a tough spot. The Bengals have some beasts on the defensive line, led by Geno Atkins, and they’ll be in Watson’s face all night.
Houston’s O-line issues are the biggest reason to favor Cincy. You also have to expect Dalton will bounce back, even if prime-time games aren’t his thing (5-11 overall).
This line opened at Bengals minus-3 and has doubled since, and that’s because the Texans figure to be undermanned and overmatched. Lay the points with the home team on a short week.
Bob Glauber: Bengals
Tom Rock: Bengals
Calvin Watkins: Bengals
Laura Albanese: Bengals