For the second straight year, the Bengals go on the road to Houston in pursuit of their first postseason victory since the 1990 season. Who did that last playoff win come against? The Houston Oilers! Peter King says WEIRD!
Having lost three of their last four and forfeiting their first-round bye in doing so, the Texans now must regroup to handle a more arduous path to New Orleans than it once appeared they’d have to take. A much-cited fact is that the 2009 Saints are the only Super Bowl champ to have finished the regular season with three losses in its final four regular season games. The key difference being that those Saints had already clinched home-field advantage before that late dip heading into the playoffs. Also they had Drew Brees instead of Matt Schaub.
Cincinnati rides a decidedly more positive trajectory, entering the playoffs with a 5-1 record over its past six games, the only loss coming at home against Dallas in a game they really should have won. So while the Bengals are still capable of being the Bengals and trip over their own dicks in a game they should win, they have been playing some good football of late. And that might be enough to knock off a Texans team that seems to have lost its way over the last month.
If there’s any bad blood to be found between these teams, there’s always cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who departed Cincy for Houston two years ago. Joseph was the one who before this season let the world know about how cheap-ass Mike Brown would limit the amount of Gatorade that Bengals players could take home, whereas in Houston, the sugar water flows like wine. As a showing of spite, Mike Brown will double the usual Gatorade ration for his players today. That’s right. 12 whole ounces of any flavor they want. Except the red Gatorade. That’s the good stuff.