Houston (3-5) at Cincinnati (8-0)
When: Monday, November 16th 2015
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Time: 8:30 ET | TV: ESPN
The Cincinnati Bengals can join the Patriots and Panthers as the only 9-0 teams with a win Monday night against the Houston Texans. The Bengals are playing the second of three prime-time games in a row and they look like a team who deserves it. Quarterback Andy Dalton is having a career year passing for 18 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions and has a 111.0 QB rating. He’s coming off his best game of the season 10 days ago against Cleveland in which he threw for 234 yards and three scores, while completing 21-of-27 passes. His go-to receiver is still A.J. Green, who has 50 catches and 702 yards, but his new red-zone target is tight end Tyler Eifert. The former first-round draft pick out of Notre Dame has 9 touchdown catches on 37 receptions and can break the Bengals single-season record for a TE with one more. Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill continue to share time in the backfield and have helped the Bengals to the 9th best rushing attack in the league with 120.4 yards a game. The Cincinnati defense is around the middle of the pack when it comes to yards allowed, but their second in the most important category – points allowed with 17.8. They also have 23 sacks and have held their opponents to just 36.2% on third downs.
The Houston Texans might be a mess, but a win tonight would put them in a tie for first in the AFC South with idle Indianapolis. Quarterback Brian Hoyer lost his job in week 1, but regained it in week 4 and has been outstanding since. In his last five games he has thrown for over 200 yards and at least two touchdowns in each contest, while throwing just two picks. He also has one of the league’s top receivers in DeAndre Hopkins, who has 66 receptions for 870 yards and six touchdowns. The running game is ranked 28th and has been basically non-existent since the loss of star running back Arian Foster in week 4. Starter Alfred Blue only has 17 carries and 47 yards in the last two games. First round draft pick Jadeveon Clowney is nursing a sore back and will not play tonight. J.J. Watt still leads the defense and has 8.5 sacks and 15 tackles for losses this season. The Texans defense is pretty good against the pass ranking 7th allowing 227.4 yards a game through the air.
This isn’t a typical 8-0 vs 3-5 sleeper game. The Texans actually have something to play for and Hoyer is playing well right now. The Bengals have covered or pushed every game this season, but I believe this line is too high tonight. We saw several favorites lose outright on Sunday, so I’m not laying 11 points tonight.
Pick: Texans +11