From SB

Some content was stripped by our security filters, but is should be possible for one of your Editors to embed the content for you.

Some content was stripped by our security filters, but is should be possible for one of your Editors to embed the content for you.

By on Jan 2, 12:30p+

Andy Lyons

The Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans look like they’re going in opposite directions, but it’s a clean slate in the playoffs, as they’re set to face off in a Wild Card matchup.

In just the fourth time since the current playoff format was introduced, teams in the Wild Card are meeting in back-to-back seasons. The Houston Texans will take on the Cincinnati Bengals, and fortunately for the former, history is on their side. In all three previous instances, the team that won the first game also won the following game.

A season ago, the Texans absolutely dominated the Bengals, winning 31-10. The Texans intercepted three passes and had four sacks, and halted the Bengals before they could ever get started.

Fortunately for the Bengals, if there’s anything to this whole “momentum,” thing, they could have a leg-up on the competition. After a four-game losing streak from Week 5 through Week 9, they rallied to win seven of their last eight games, including their last three. The Texans, on the other hand, were one of the hottest teams in the NFL, before losing three of their last four, including their last two.

Meet the Texans

Houston made franchise history in 2011, as it was the first time they’d ever made the playoffs, entering as a Wild Card. The Texans looked to increase their standing this time around, and many felt they were well on their way at the start of the season. At one time, it was down to them and the Atlanta Falcons for the best team in the NFL, but in recent weeks, they’ve become a secondary headline.

Still, this season hasn’t been a failure by any means. If they dominated the Bengals through defense the first time around, they’ve shown all year that such an outcome isn’t unlikely in the slightest. J.J. Watt has become the headline name, and he’s been making plays in every aspect of the game. If he can disrupt the Bengals like he has been doing all season, the Texans will be in a great position.

Meet the Bengals

If the Bengals players are smart, they won’t pay any attention to Cincinnati’s playoff woes. Their last win in the playoffs was a 41-14 victory over the Houston Oilers in the 1990 playoffs. They’ve lost four straight postseason games since then, and are 0-5 on the road all-time in the postseason on top of that.

Fortunately, Andy Dalton now has some playoff experience under his belt, and his playmakers around him have rallied in recent outings. They’re playing great football at precisely the right time, and that can only help them against a team that was considered the best in the NFL at one point this season.

Also On 101.1 The Wiz: