When the No. 2 ranked Houston Texans defense hits the field versus the Cincinnati Bengals offense, it will be facing one of the more balanced teams in football. The Bengals have a 3,000 yard passer in Andy Dalton, a 1,000 yard rusher in Cedric Benson and a 1,000 yard receiver in A.J. Green. Balance is key for the Bengals, and they'll lean on it to try and push them through to the next round. Per the Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy, here's what they can expect to see on Saturday afternoon:
When the Bengals run: The Bengals rushed for over 100 yards in 11 games this season, including their last nine. Cedric Benson had 91 yards on 21 carries in the first game against Houston. In the playoff game against the Jets two years ago, he set Bengals postseason records for most rushing yards in a game (169) and longest carry (47 yards for a touchdown). Houston allowed over 100 yards only seven times this season and only two backs have run for 100 yards or more against them this season (Baltimore’s Ray Rice and Miami’s Daniel Thomas). Brian Cushing leads the Texans in tackles with 114 and defensive end J.J. Watt has 12 tackles for loss.
When the Bengals pass: In the Week 14 game against Houston, Andy Dalton was 16 of 28 for 189 yards with a touchdown. On the road, Dalton has completed 58.7 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns against seven interceptions. A.J. Green led NFL rookies in receptions (65) and receiving yards (1,057) and was second in touchdown catches (seven). The Texans have 17 interceptions with none of them in the last four games. Johnathan Joseph and Jason Allen each have four interceptions. Former UC standout Connor Barwin has 11.5 sacks, which is the third most in team history. Barwin had a sack and a forced fumble in the first game which set up a Houston touchdown.
For more on the Bengals, be sure to check out the SB Nation blog Cincy Jungle. For more on the Texans, head over to Battle Red Blog. Stay tuned to SB Nation's NFL hub for more updates on Saturday's games.