Texans To Respond With Victory Over Bengals

Watt needs to shine for Houston

Week one of the NFL season is in the books and there were a number of surprises across the league in the first round of matches.

The Cincinnati Bengals began with a horrific defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens. Their offense was shutout against their AFC North rivals, with quarterback Andy Dalton throwing four interceptions in the 20-0 loss.

John Harbaugh’s men put the clamps down on Dalton and company to ease to a comfortable win at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals now have to battle back against the Houston Texans, desperately aiming to avoid a 0-2 start on home soil.

The Texans endured their own woes in week one, slipping to a 29-7 defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Bill O’Brien’s men have mitigating circumstances as their preparations for the season were disrupted by Hurricane Harvey.

However, for the second season on the bounce the head coach pulled his starting quarterback in the first game of the term. Tom Savage’s ineptitude was not allowed to stand as Deshaun Watson played the second half, but was powerless to stop his side falling to a heavy defeat at home.

Both teams will be scrapping for the victory at Paul Brown Stadium on Thursday Night Football. Few sides drop to 0-2 and reach the playoffs – therefore it’s a contest neither can afford to lose.

We’ll now break down both sides and the betting odds for the match for the start of week two.

Cincinnati Bengals

Dalton needs a better outing

The Bengals endured a nightmare game to open the new season. Their offense, specifically Dalton, was atrocious as the quarterback put forward one of the worst performances of his career.

The 29-year-old threw four interceptions against the Ravens, while the offense failed to put a single point on the board against the stoic Ravens’ defense. Dalton’s display was littered with poor decisions and a lack of accuracy with his throws downfield.

Cincinnati’s offensive line does not get off the hook as they allowed pressure from Terrell Suggs among others. On the other side of the balls, the Bengals’ defense did well to keep the game close for as long as they did, but Dalton’s mistakes were too much to overcome.

Marvin Lewis’ has been with the club since 2001 and has overseen a lot of bad performances in his tenure – as any coach would have during that length of time. However, that display to start the season will have annoyed him, especially against a rival in the AFC North.

He and his staff need to configure a plan to get Dalton and the offense firing against the Texans. Injuries played a significant role in their struggles last season. AJ Green, Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard all finished the season on injured reserve, resulting in poor production.

The Ravens clash was their first game back on the field therefore they may have struggled for rhythm in the offense. Dalton needs to find a better synchronicity with his receivers in game two, while the offensive line will need to raise their standards against a strong defensive line.

It’s going to take a special effort with only three days of preparation, which could play a huge factor in the Bengals’ season.

Houston Texans

Watt needs to shine for Houston

Credit: AP Photo

The Texans’ performance was just as bad as the Bengals’ in the opener. O’Brien is notorious for his lack of patience with his quarterbacks, and Savage lasted just one half before he was pulled.

The 25-year-old was not helped by the play of his offensive line, who allowed the Jaguars to notch 10 sacks during the contest. Tackle Duane Brown’s absence loomed large as he continued his hold out in search of a better contract. From that outing it’s clear Houston need him back quickly.

A lack of receiving options outside of DeAndre Hopkins also played a factor in the dismal performances as Jacksonville’s talented secondary blanketed the Texans’ wideouts.

Watson had slightly more success in the second half, but needed to perform miracles that were beyond him in his first outing in the NFL. However, the 21-year-old’s outing was encouraging enough and should earn him the starting berth against the Bengals.

Houston’s defense was not good enough in the opener by their high standards. JJ Watt suffered a dislocated finger on his return to action and had to leave the game.

Jags running back Leonard Fournette was allowed to rush for 100 yards, while the Texans failed to register a sack of Blake Bortles. Given the strength of the team is the defense – those levels of performance will have to improve against the Bengals.

Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus and Watt are far too good to be held in check again. They need to dominate Cincinnati’s offensive line and emulate the efforts of the Ravens by holding down Dalton and company for the second game on the bounce.

The pressure is on them to perform as heads will begin to turn in their direction should the quarterback find his rhythm on Thursday.

Betting Options

The Bengals cannot play worse on offense than in their defeat to the Ravens. However, life will be far from easy against the Texans’ defense, who will be looking to bounce back from their poor performance against the Jaguars.

Watt, Clowney and Mercilus are too good to not make an impact for two games on the bounce. Cincinnati’s offensive line lost a lot of talent during the off-season and that could loom large over the course of the campaign.

Expect Watt to be a constant presence in the backfield at Paul Brown Stadium to put Dalton under pressure. That could be enough to drive his side to the victory, although Watson will have to drive his side into the teens on the scoreboard.

The 21-year-old should be capable of firing his side to the victory at odds of +185   with TopBet sportsbook. Back the Texans also to beat the -1.5 spread at odds of +163   with PaddyPower.

Cincinnati’s struggles on offense will continue – therefore taking the under 14.5 points with Ladbrokes at +400   is a prudent bet due to the presence of Watt and Clowney.

Houston may be forced to lean on their running game in the contest. As a result, back Lamar Miller to score a touchdown anytime at odds of +175   with SkyBet.

Tips Summary

Houston Texans To Beat Cincinnati Bengals
Thursday 14th September 2017 20:30 ET (Friday 15th September 2017 01:30 BST)
Odds: +185

Houston Texans To Beat -1.5 Spread Against Cincinnati Bengals
Thursday 14th September 2017 20:30 ET (Friday 15th September 2017 01:30 BST)
Odds: +163

Cincinnati Bengals To Score Under 14.5 Points
Thursday 14th September 2017 20:30 ET (Friday 15th September 2017 01:30 BST)
Odds: +400

Lamar Miller To Score Touchdown Anytime
Thursday 14th September 2017 20:30 ET (Friday 15th September 2017 01:30 BST)
Odds: +175