One of three undefeated teams still standing in the NFL, the Cincinnati Bengals look to extend their perfect run to nine games when they host the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football. The Bengals entered the weekend with a 3 1/2-game cushion over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North and have had 10 days off since demolishing Cleveland 31-10 on Nov. 5.
“We’ve put ourselves in the position that we’re in and there aren’t a lot of teams that get to 8-0,” Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton said. “We’ve got to keep pushing and keep the same mentality that we’ve had the first half of the season and do whatever we can to keep winning these games in the second half.” It marks the second of three straight prime-time matchups for the Bengals, who visit NFC West-leading Arizona on Nov. 22. Houston stumbled out of the gate with four losses in its first five games and has already changed starting quarterbacks twice. Brian Hoyer reclaimed the job and led the Texans to two wins in three games before last week’s bye.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: The Bengals opened as 10.5-point home favorites and have been bet up to -11.5. The total has held steady at the opening number of 47.
Texans – WR N. Washington (probable Monday, hip), RB C. Polk (probable Monday, knee), WR C. Shorts (probable Monday, hamstring), LB B. McKinney (questionable Monday, concussion), LB A. Dent (questionable Monday, hamstring), T D. Brown (questionable Monday, concussion), LB J. Clowney (doubtful Monday, back), DB K. Jackson (out Sunday, ankle).
Bengals – DT M. Hardison (questionable Monday, knee), LB R. Maualuga (questionable Monday, questionable Monday, calf), T A. Smith (questionable Monday, concussion).
WEATHER REPORT: There will be 15-30 percent chance of rain for the Monday nighter in Cincinnati. Temperatures will be in the mid 50’s with a five mile per hour wind blowing towards the northwest end zone.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Texans (3.5) – Bengals (-7) + home field (-3) = Bengals -13.5
ABOUT THE TEXANS (3-5, 3-5 ATS, 5-2-1 O/U): Houston’s three victories have come at the expense of teams who are a combined 7-15, but it entered the weekend sitting a half-game behind first-place Indianapolis in the AFC South. Hoyer lost his starting job in Week 1 but has provided some stability by throwing for at least two scoring passes in a club-record five straight games and has one of the league’s top receivers in DeAndre Hopkins, who has 66 receptions for 870 yards and six touchdowns. The running game has been anemic since the loss of Arian Foster and the defense will be without former No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney.
ABOUT THE BENGALS (8-0, 7-0-1 ATS, 5-3 O/U): If not for the play of New England’s Tom Brady, Dalton would be the front-runner for MVP honors after throwing 18 touchdowns against only four interceptions while compiling a career-best 111.0 passer rating – second only to Brady. Wideout A.J. Green has 50 receptions and four touchdowns, but perhaps the biggest boost for Cincinnati’s offense in the emergence of tight end Tyler Eifert, who had nine scoring passes among his 37 catches. Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill continue to share time in the backfield while the defense is permitting only 17.8 points and has notched 23 sacks.
*Texans are 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings.
* Under is 6-0 in Bengals last six games in November.
* Over is 4-1 in Texans last five games overall.
* Bengals are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games versus the AFC.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Fifty-nine percent of wagers are backing the Bengals for this Monday Night matchup. The public is also think it will be a high scoring affair with 58 percent of wagers on the over.