Monday Night Football: Texans vs. Bengals Preview & Prediction

The Cincinnati Bengals (8-0) are one of three undefeated teams left in the NFL, and they'll look to keep the dream of a perfect season alive on Monday against a Houston Texans (3-5) squad that remains firmly in the thick of things in the AFC South race. Who's got the advantage in tonight's big matchup in Cincy? Here's our preview & prediction for Monday Night Football.

Line: Bengals by 11

What's At Stake: 

The Cincinnati Bengals already have a strangehold on the AFC North, but another win would push them 3 1/2 game ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers with a head-to-head tiebreaker currently in hand. With seven games to go in the regular season, such a lead may be insurmountable. As for the Texans, a win slides Houston into a virtual tie with the Indianapolis Colts atop the AFC South at 4-5. Indy has the head-to-head tiebreaker, but a win over a currently-undefeated Bengals team would be a statement of intent.

What They Are Saying About The Houston Texans: 

Sources: O'Brien says benching Hoyer was a mistake

Texans franchise has struggled in prime time

DeAndre Hopkins has one big fan in Bengals locker room

What They Are Saying About The Cincinnati Bengals:

Vegas is taking notice of Tyler Eifert

Gruden: Breaking down Andy Dalton's improvement

Lights shine on undefeated Bengals


Key To The Game: 

The Texans passing game has received a shot in the arm since Brian Hoyer returned to a starting role, as the veteran QB has thrown eight touchdowns against just one interception with a 97.3 passer rating in three games. The Texans are 2-1 in that span and starting to look like the playoff contender many pegged them to be before the season. Cincy is a middle-of-the-pack pass defense, so it's crucial to Houston's hopes in this one to exploit matchups with DeAndre Hopkins on the outside to match wits with a Bengals passing attack that has been on point all year long. 

Prediction: Bengals win 31-20

Andy Dalton and the Bengals appear to have finally broken through the glass ceiling they've set for themselves the past few years, and the next step is taking down an AFC contender in convincing fashion on prime time. Houston will keep it relatively close, but the Bengals should take this one going away.

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Related Topics: DeAndre Hopkins, Texans News, Bengals News, Andy Dalton