Houston Texans fans were left rejoicing in the bleachers last Sunday as the prolifically insufficient Brock Osweiler was benched in favor of fourth round draft pick (2014) Tom Savage. Head Coach Bill O’ Brien has named Tom Savage the starter for the Christmas Day matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Houston Texans enter the game atop of the AFC South looking to tighten their grip on the division with a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. A Texans win coupled with a Titans victory over the Jaguars could setup a potential winner takes all scenario in the final game of the regular season.
Tom Savage makes his first start for the Texans and will look to build on last Sundays performance where his introduction proved to be the catalyst as he led the Texans offense on five scoring drives to overcome the Jaguars 21-20. The main benefactor to the change under center will be wideout sensation DeAndre Hopkins. Prior to last Sunday’s game, Hopkins had only been targeted ten times or more during four games compared to 2015 where he had double-digit targets in all but three games. Leading rusher Lamar Miller (1,073 yards, 5 touchdowns) is day-to-day with an ankle injury and is likely a game time decision with that in mind expect the Texans to run the ball by committee with Alfred Blue, Akeem Hunt and Johnathan Grimes should Miller miss out.
Tom Savage on his first start: “At a young time in my career I learned that this opportunity can be taken away from you pretty quick, Injuries happen. That’s why this week, I’m just going to enjoy this opportunity and go out there and have some fun with the guys, and just let it rip”.
Whilst the Osweiler-lead offense proved to be inept, the defense minus three time NFL defensive player of the year JJ Watt the defense have blossomed, no more so than former first round pick (2014) Jadeveon Clowney. The sack total may not stand out (five), however his 2016 tape is impressive as Clowney has wrecked havoc in the oppositions backfield rewarded with his first trip to the Pro Bowl.
The Bengals are destined to miss the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. The loss of Muhammad Sanu in free agency appeared to have a bigger impact on the team than many suspected. AJ Green is expected to play despite missing the last four games with a hamstring injury. During Green‘s absence rookie wideout Tyler Boyd has caught the eye and will be looking to improve on his 539 yards receiving and single touchdown. Running back Jeremy Hill is expected to start despite a knee issue.
Marvin Lewis on missing out on the post season: “We failed in a bunch of ways that hurt us. We didn’t protect the quarterback early on well enough. We gave up explosive plays on defense early in the season. All of those things we can look back to as to why we are where we are. We never got it all the way turned around enough. At the eight-week mark, when we had a chance to do it, we didn’t get it quite turned around. We still lost these games and were behind in the fourth quarter. That makes a difference. That’s the quarter you have to go win”.
Defensively for the Bengals, they’ll be without leading tackler Vontaze Burfict and Marvin Lewis must decide whether to go with Vincent Ray or the rookie Nick Vigil. Along with Burfict, Geno Atkins has once again proved his worth to the team with a dominate 2016 campaign, leading the team in quarterback hits (23) and tackles for a loss (12). Atkins has 7.5 sacks on the season with three coming in his last two games.
(post was originally posted on www.thasportsjunkies101.com website)