Few people are giving the Texans a chance to beat the Cincinnati Bengals tonight, but Landry Locker of Mad Radio has five reasons why the Texans will be 1-1 tonight after the starting debut of rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Reason No. 1: Four Words: It’s the Bengals, bro
The first point the Bengals score tonight will also be their first one of the 2017 season. If you thought the Texans offense looked bad in their season-opener, which they did, the Bengals were even worse. In fact, Andy Dalton had one of the five worst quarterback performances of the last 11 years according to ESPN.com. The Texans aren’t one of the best teams in the league, but the Bengals aren’t either.
Reason No. 2: Defense
Of all six combined units on the field tonight (Offense, defense, special teams) the Texans have the one that is potentially elite, their defense. Brian Cushing won’t play tonight, but he was a diminishing player that many people thought would be cut before the season. JJ Watt, Javeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus and Benardrick McKinney were and are the glue of one of the best front-sevens in football. They didn’t look good in their opener, but they also had an offense turn the ball over four times and a fumble returned for a touchdown. Heading into the season the Texans defense was widely-regarded as one of the best in the league, does one performance eliminate that? It shouldn’t.
Oh yeah, Dalton also once made Watt cry on national TV after his final college game when they two met in the 2011 Rose Bowl so he should carry that with him tonight.
Reason No. 3: The Birthday Boy
Watson should have been starting from the beginning, I made my thoughts clear. He might not be the franchise quarterback the Texans have been looking for since 2002, but he’s better than Tom Savage regardless of what Savage’s agent says. A lot of Watson’s success depends on Bill O’Brien’s ability to develop a game plan around his strengths, which makes me somewhat skeptical because of O’Brien’s past incompetence in handling quarterbacks, but I will give the Texans head coach the benefit of the doubt and pretend that he already had a plan intact for Watson. Also, I will ride with Watson’s intangibles, winning past and “dude qualities” tonight, for now.
Credit: Matt Hammond for the dude qualities line.
Reason 4: Andy Dalton
As I previously mentioned, Dalton is coming off one of the worst QB performances of the last decade-plus in which he threw four interceptions and converted first downs on three of nine third-downs. Dalton has done a great job maximizing his God-given ability and getting the most of his talent, but there’s reasonable reason to believe that his best days are behind him and he’s on track to being a former starting quarterback.
See, this Bengals fan below thinks Andy Dalton sucks. WARNING: NSFW Language
Reason 5: Karma
Watt is raising millions of dollars for hurricane relief and Watson is regarded as one of the finest young men in the NFL, the Texans have some high-character guys on their roster. Yes, Cushing is a juicer and a cheater, but he’s only harming himself.
Meanwhile in Cincinnati: Vontaze Burfict is one of the dirtiest players in the NFL, Joe Mixon is on video punching a girl on video, Jeremy Hill has a past sexual battery and assault charge, and Adam PacMan Jones has a rough history that would take so long for me to type that I wouldn’t even be able to watch the game if I laid it all out.
If Karma exists then it’s on the Texans side tonight in Cincinnati.
WARNING: NSFW Language
Score Prediction: Texans 24, Bengals 17
You can hear Landry Locker on Mad Radio M-F 6-10 a.m. on SportsRadio 610 and on Saturday’s from 1-4 p.m. on Hear Me Out with Matt Hammond. Follow him on Twitter @landrylocker.