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Wildcard Saturday: #6 Cincinnati Bengals at #3 Houston Texans (4:30 PM NBC)

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 Wildcard Saturday: #6 Cincinnati Bengals at #3 Houston Texans (4:30 PM NBC)
Old 3 years agoclass of '09 - away - #1
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ReggieA 196 heat pts196 space
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The Houston Texans are hosting the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday to begin the NFL playoffs for the second straight year.

This time, Matt Schaub will be in the spotlight.

Schaub will make his first postseason start as the stumbling Texans try to eliminate Cincinnati in the wild-card round, a year after they did so with a third-string quarterback.

Houston's first playoff game in franchise history was a 31-10 victory over Cincinnati last year to open wild-card weekend. T.J. Yates was the Texans' quarterback since Schaub was lost for the season after 10 games due to a foot injury and former backup Matt Leinart also was sidelined.

"It is exciting," Schaub said. "It's an exciting time of year to be a part of this to get ready to play in a playoff game, especially here at home in front of our home fans."

How excited the third-seeded Texans (12-4) truly are for Saturday is debatable. Houston lost its final two regular-season games when a victory in either would have given it a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

"We didn't handle the end of the season the way we wanted to handle it, but that doesn't mean that we can't handle these playoffs the way we want to handle it," coach Gary Kubiak said. "We understand how we have to play."

Schaub had 21 touchdown passes to nine interceptions during the Texans' 11-1 start, but had one TD and three picks over their 1/3 finish.

"I've just got to play a little more consistent," said Schaub, who has not thrown a pass in a playoff game in nine NFL seasons. "I definitely know when things aren't going well to look at myself first because I'm the one that's putting everyone in position and trying to make the plays."

Andy Dalton, meanwhile, has guided Cincinnati (10-6) to its first consecutive playoff berths since 1981-82. He's looking to make amends after he threw three interceptions and was sacked four times while finishing with the second-worst passer rating of his career at 51.4 in last year's defeat.

"Personally, I'm a lot more confident," said Dalton, who threw for 27 touchdowns and 3,669 yards this season. "I've experienced it. I know the atmosphere I'm going in to. This team as a whole has gotten better from the experience we have now."

Dalton will have to again be wary of star defensive end J.J. Watt, whose 29-yard interception return for the go-ahead score before halftime was the most memorable moment of last season's playoff matchup.

"That was last year and this is this year," he said. "I have things to focus on this year. It was a great play, a huge moment in my life, but I'm looking forward to making bigger moments this year."

Watt turned in an amazing second season in 2012 with an NFL-high 20 1/2 sacks, two shy of the league record. The Defensive Player of the Year candidate also had 39 tackles for loss, 16 passes defended, 107 tackles and four forced fumbles.

If Watt can harass Dalton, it may be difficult for the Bengals signal-caller to get the ball to A.J. Green. Green was held below 60 yards in both meetings with Houston last season, including 47 in the playoff game. The second-year pro went over 1,000 yards again this season (1,350), and his 11 touchdown receptions tied for fourth in the league.

Schaub, meanwhile, will primarily want to target Andre Johnson, who led the AFC with a career-high 1,598 receiving yards although he had only four TD catches. Johnson caught five passes for 90 yards and a TD from Yates last season in the playoffs versus Cincinnati.

The Bengals sound more concerned about slowing down a running attack that features Arian Foster, second in the AFC with 1,424 rushing yards and a league-best 15 TDs on the ground. Houston was 7-0 this season when he ran for more than 100 yards. Foster carried 24 times for 153 yards and two scores in last year's playoff win.

"It really starts with the Texans run game," Cincinnati defensive back Leon Hall said. "That opens up their playbook. It sets up a lot of the play-action passes that they have."

While Watt was the linchpin behind Houston's 44 sacks, defensive tackle Geno Atkins had 12 1/2 and defensive end Michael Johnson 11 1/2 as Cincinnati produced 51 for the NFL's third-highest total.

Atkins and Johnson are major concerns for Houston since Schaub has been sacked 12 times over the last four games, compared to 15 through the first 12.

"They have a very talented front four, one of the best that we'll face all year," Texans left tackle Duane Brown said. "I'm very familiar with them. Most of them are the same guys they had last year. They're relentless guys, very strong."

Houston linebacker Brooks Reed could return after sitting out last Sunday's 28-16 loss at Indianapolis with a groin injury. Cornerback Alan Ball also may be back after missing five straight games with a foot injury.

Bengals cornerback Terence Newman (groin) and 1,000-yard running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (hamstring) both returned to practice this week after sitting out last Sunday's 23-17 win over Baltimore.
BENGALS WED THUR FRI STATUS
S Chris Crocker Thigh LP DNP DNP
DOUBTFUL
CB Jason Allen Hamstring LP LP LP
Questionable
LB Dan Skuta Thigh FP FP FP
Probable
DT Wallace Gilberry Illness DNP LP FP
Probable
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis Hamstring LP LP FP
Probable
S Taylor Mays Hamstring LP LP FP
Probable
CB Terence Newman Groin LP FP FP
Probable
Leon Hall Non-Injury -- LP FP Probable
Texans WED THUR FRI STATUS
G Antoine Caldwell Back DNP DNP DNP
DOUBTFUL
DB Alan Ball Foot LP LP LP
Probable
FB Tyler Clutts Abdominal FP FP FP
Probable
DT Shaun Cody Back LP LP LP
Probable
TE Owen Daniels Chest LP LP LP
Probable
LB Tim Dobbins Ankle DNP DNP --
Probable
RB Justin Forsett Knee FP FP FP
Probable
S Shiloh Keo Ankle FP FP FP
Probable
T Derek Newton Knee LP LP LP
Probable
WR DeVier Posey Foot FP LP FP
Probable
OLB Brooks Reed Groin LP LP LP
Probable
DE Antonio Smith Ankle LP LP LP
Probable
G Wade Smith Knee LP LP LP
Probable
RB Ben Tate Foot FP FP FP
Probable
RB James Casey Knee -- FP FP
Probable
QB T.J. Yates Elbow FP FP FP
Probable
Should be a lot closer than last year. Need that playoff win though image whoever wins has to go to NE though image
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:32 PMclass of -  - #2
Flacco Da Gawd  space
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Wouldn't y'all get Denver if y'all win since you're the lowest seed and they're the one seed?

I am rooting for the Kittens BTW you cute little fu*kers
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Old 3 years agoclass of '04 - on now - #3
Mr_GooD_NeWs 25 heat pts25 space
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Old 3 years agoclass of '09 - away - #4
TriniSoldier 55 heat pts55 space
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texans fans fell off the face of the earth
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Old 3 years agoclass of '10 - away - #5
smoothSeph 53 heat pts53 space
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Should be a good one, every wildcard game is unpredictable this year. That's a good thing
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Old 3 years agoclass of '12 - away - #6
Gramz 336 heat pts336 space
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Houston goes to New England if they win and Cincinnati goes to Denver if they win.

Should be a good game but I'm going to go with the team who has the momentum coming in, which is Cincinnati.
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Old 3 years agoclass of '06 - away - #7
down2earth 18 heat pts18 space
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Not as confident in my Texans like I should be given their level of play during December. I still believe we pull this one out but in order to make a serious run and get through Denver, someone other than the usual playmakers HAS to step up into the spotlight and seize the moment. We're down to Bradie James, a midseason FA pickup, and 2 practice squad guys to play ILB that's clearly our most vulnerable area in our defense. Right side of the offensive line has been an inconsistent clusterfu*k the entire season, I'm just hoping they don't cost us anymore games.

Because of the slide at the end of the season, the Texans's success this postseason is hinging upon the very thing all of us Texans fans feared and hoped it would never come down to: the arm of Matt Schaub. I don't know what's in store this post-season but if Schaub plas anything less than Joe Montana-esque this postseason, his days in Houston are numbered. Right now he's all we got and I'm hoping for the best.

All that being said, LET'S GOOOOOOO TEXANS!
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Old 3 years agoclass of '09 - away - #8
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aclockworkred71 said:
CIN goes to DEN if they win, but HOU will roll over them, worst team in the playoffs.
Cin can get to any qb in the afc. Only problem is you blanket aj green and they aren't scoring more than 10 points

But you cut that hou play action out, and they aint scoring more than 10 points either
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Old 3 years agoclass of '09 - away - #9
ReggieA 196 heat pts196 space
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Need Dalton to take that next step today. Offense has looked like sh*t last 3 games. But the defense has looked a lot better lately especially the secondary. I just need Dalton to not target over 50% of his passes to Green, spread the wealth to take attention away from him and BJGE needs to have a big day, knowing he is not 100%, so Cedric Peerman needs to get touches to.
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Old 3 years agoclass of '05 - away - #10
Panopticon 27 heat pts27 space
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The Bengals are going to win. Today is the day. 48-17. Believe it. Today is that day.
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Old 3 years agoclass of '09 - away - #11
ReggieA 196 heat pts196 space
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snippet said:
The Bengals are going to win. Today is the day. 48-17. Believe it. Today is that day.
48 they be lucky to get in the 20's, JJ Watt is going up against Andre Smith that match up scares me more than any other one on the field.
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Old 3 years agoclass of '04 - on now - #12
all3rd 570 heat pts570 space
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Should have stayed in Dallas today this awful homer local 2 Houston pregame show is horrid I almost now want the Bengals to win.
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Old 3 years agoclass of '11 - away - #13
mista804  space
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I think the Bengals will steal this one 24-20
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Old 3 years agoclass of '11 - away - #14
does any 1 care 15 heat pts15 space
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Go Bengals
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Old 3 years agoclass of '10 - away - #15
Zane Cobain 29 heat pts29 space
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two teams that have no shot at making the superbowl. should be fun.
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Old 3 years agoclass of '12 - away - #16
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ReggieA said:

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Should be a lot closer than last year. Need that playoff win though whoever wins has to go to NE though
Um... If the Bengals win they go to Denver kid
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Old 3 years agoclass of '09 - away - #17
ReggieA 196 heat pts196 space
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Hokis said:
Um... If the Bengals win they go to Denver kid
I know, I had it mixed up

game time, need 1 playoff win from the Bengals in my adult life
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Old 3 years agoclass of '10 - away - #18
Alerts 194 heat pts194 space
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Who are these commentators
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Old 3 years agoclass of '11 - away - #19
BLUE SWAG 148 heat pts148 space
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You don't know Mike Maycock tha Godfather?

fu*k you mean who is these commentators.
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Old 3 years agoclass of '09 - away - #20
ReggieA 196 heat pts196 space
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Alerts said:
Who are these commentators
Maycock, the draft God, sh*ts all over McShay and them dudes
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