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NFL playoffs: Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans

Saturday, 4:30 p.m., Reliant Stadium, WRC-4

Bengals 9-7, Texans 10-6

How the Bengals can win… They went 5-3 on the road during the regular season and are facing the Texans at the right time, with Houston on a three-game losing streak. The Bengals were winless in four games against the Steelers and Ravens but went 9-3 against the rest of their schedule. They lost by a point to the Texans on Dec. 11. The Bengals ranked seventh in the league in total defense and ninth in scoring defense during the regular season. Rookie QB Andy Dalton faces his first playoff game but has been unusually poised all season. Dalton needs to get rookie WR A.J. Green re-involved in the offense after Green totaled only four catches in the final two regular season games.

How the Texans can win… The Texans play the first postseason game in franchise history but limp into the playoffs after a 10-3 start became a 10-6 final regular season record. Rookie QB T.J. Yates suffered a bruised non-throwing shoulder during Sunday’s loss to the Titans. For the Texans to right themselves, they might need to rely on the league’s second-ranked running game and second-ranked defense.

--Mark Maske

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