Houston Texans vs Cincinnati Bengals Live

The Houston Texans face the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on Thursday Night Football in NFL Week 2. Here’s all the info you need to watch.

The Houston Texans and the Cincinnati Bengals are both looking to get their first win of the season as they face off on Thursday Night Football. Both teams had terrible offensive showings last Sunday.

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Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton had one of the worst showings in NFL history, throwing four interceptions and getting sacked five times. Houston’s Tom Savage struggled so much against the Jacksonville Jaguars that he was benched in the second half in favor of rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson.

It remains unclear who will start on Thursday, although reports claim Watson will continue to hold the starting job.

This game will come down to which offense is able to bounce back on Thursday. The Texans will need to prove that they can stop the run and protect whoever is under center. The Bengals will need to prove Dalton is still their franchise quarterback. This game shouldn’t be a high scoring affair but is still worth watching as it should have strong playoff implications in the AFC South and AFC North.

Details for Thursday’s game are below:

Date: Thursday, Sept. 14
Start Time: 8:25 p.m. ET
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Stadium: Paul Brown Stadium
TV Info: NFL Network
Live Stream: NFL Mobile App, FuboTV, NFL.com

Both of these teams had strong playoff hopes before the season started, but now those hopes are in doubt. If either team wants a shot to make a playoff run it is important to get stability at the quarterback position. For the Texans that starts with choosing a quarterback and focus on building his confidence. The Bengals need Dalton to play with stability and consistency. For either team, starting 0-2 could lead to a disastrous season.

The Tom Savage era was gone before we ever got to realize that it happened with the Houston Texans. Despite the fact that head coach Bill O’Brien maintained that the former Pitt quarterback was his starter, Savage was benched after one poor half of play against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Then entered rookie Deshaun Watson.

Watson was marginally better than Savage, but the Texans still couldn’t climb out of a hole against their AFC South foes. And coming out of the game, Houston was left with the question of who would start at the position on Thursday Night Football as they take on the Cincinnati Bengals on the road.

On Tuesday, we got an answer to that question — albeit an expected one.

NFL Network’s James Palmer and Ian Rapaport confirmed that Watson will indeed make his first career NFL start on Thursday:

Frankly, this is where the Texans should’ve been all along. Though the sample size was small, we knew what Savage was. And for a Houston team that will always thrive on defense, getting a quarterback in with more upside always seemed the smarter decision — and that quarterback was always Watson.

With that being said, Watson being the starter against the Bengals doesn’t change much for Houston. That’s not because he’s untalented and doesn’t have potential; he does. What it really comes down to is the fact that whoever starts at quarterback is irrelevant if the Texans offensive line doesn’t find a way to get it together.

In the loss to the Jaguars, the Houston O-line was simply reprehensible. Sure, Jacksonville has built a formidable defense through free agency and the draft. And the unit most certainly put it all together with a nice overall performance. Even still, they were made to look far better because of the Texans’ shortcomings in the trenches on offense.

According to Pro Football Focus Edge, the highest graded lineman for the Texans was center Nick Martin — he registered a paltry 54.0 mark and was only the 19th best at his position. That’s bad, but looks stellar compared to tackles Kendall Lamm (41.8 grade, 53rd best) and Breno Giacomini (29.4 grade, 61st best) and guards Greg Mancz (48.1 grade, 38th best), Xavier Su’a-Filo (43.8 grade, 44th best) and Jeff Allen (29.6 grade, 63rd best).

Looking at that type of performance, it’s no wonder that Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell was able to set a franchise single-game record for sacks. They couldn’t stop a high schooler playing at the poor of a level. So that the offense averaged under four yards per carry and that Savage and Watson were sacked a combined 10 times shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Really, it’s hard to look at this and not think about the absence of tackle Duane Brown. Though he’s dealt with injuries, he’s still the class of the Texans offensive line. And without him, this unit apparently becomes a quintet of saloon doors.

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