Despite a 12-4 season that marked a second straight AFC South division title, the Houston Texans come limping into the playoffs. Houston lost three of its last four games, resulting in a loss of a first round bye. Houston had been the top seed/team in the AFC all season, but their December struggles knocked them down to the third seed. The offense has struggled, scoring no more than 16 points in each of those three losses. But as the playoffs begin, Houston will look to repeat their Wild Card success of last season with another playoff victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. So what will the Bengals need to do to avenge last season’s playoff elimination? Force quarterback Matt Schaub to beat them.
The Texans have one of best running backs in the league with Arian Foster, who ran for over 1,400 yards this season. There is no denying Foster’s ability to effectively run and take control of a game. In Houston’s four losses, Foster received 16 or less carries. So if the Bengals want to win, they’ll have to force Houston’s hand and keep the ball out of Foster’s hand.
If they are able to do so, the pressure will be on Schaub. Although he is a Pro Bowler this year, Schaub is not quite an ‘elite’ quarterback. Nor is Schaub a ‘clutch’ quarterback. He has a 10-23 career record against playoff teams. Definitely not the record you want from your quarterback. Schaub has yet to go on a run and win multiple big games, so it’s hard to expect him to come through in the playoffs. He’ll likely have to travel to New England and Denver should the Texans advance, both of which are very tough stadiums on opposing teams. So until Schaub proves he can win multiple big games, the way to defeat Houston will be to put as much pressure on Schaub’s shoulders as possible.981090