Texans at Bengals: Score Prediction and Final Thoughts
Can the Texans upset the red-hot Bengals?
What Could We Learn About DeMeco Ryans and C.J. Stroud
I’m not putting too much stock into one game, but this could be an enormous moment for the Texans. The chance of it occurring resides on the shoulders of the locomotives of change for Houston: DeMeco Ryans and C.J. Stroud.
DeMeco Ryans will be without several key players on defense. Starters, backups, and the backups to the backups are all missing in this game. Opposing Ryans and his damaged defense are a revived Joe Burrow and a red-hot offense.
If DeMeco Ryans can coach this team, and defense, up in this spot it will go a long way in proving what he can be as a head coach and a defensive playcaller. It would be impressive against any opposing quarterback, but especially Burrow.
I’m not advocating for moral victories, this team feels beyond that, but success in this spot would help alter the potential of DeMeco Ryans as we see it. Getting a team dialed in off the injury report and coming out of an epic comeback win would showcase an incredible level of leadership and coaching prowess.
For C.J. Stroud there is less to prove, but another chapter of an incredible story could be written. Nico Collins is down along with other pieces of the offense. Will C.J. Stroud continue to draw the best out of Noah Brown and maximize Tank Dell’s potential? If the defense has a bad day, can he go toe-to-toe with Joe Burrow in Ohio?
Stroud will eventually have to down players like Burrow to make noise in the AFC. If he does it this early in his career the level of special we have already seen might be even greater than we’d imagined.
I believe the Texans will lose 31-21 to the Bengals. I don’t know that the defense is keeping Burrow off the scoreboard enough to win the game. The injuries are numerous and the Bengals are rolling. Cincinnati has been solid on defense the past month as well. This will be tough for the Texans to keep pace but they can if C.J. Stroud can replicate the second half of the Tampa Bay win. If he can’t this one will end up like most expected it to end up when the schedule was announced: an easy Bengals win.
Derek Stingley Returns
The oft-criticized third-overall pick from the 2022 NFL Draft is back from his hamstring injury. The Texans activated Derek Stingley and he will play opposite what should be Shaq Griffin since Steven Nelson is unlikely to play. If Nelson could play, he and Stingely could make life very hard on Burrow and whatever receivers he does have available. Ja'Marr Chase is not guaranteed to play in this one, so having Stingley back with or without him facing Chase is a huge boost.
What do you expect out of Stingley in his return? I would love to see him be a huge factor and play to his draft spot. Most importantly, I want him to finish this game healthy.