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Bengals at Texans: Momentum and other things
The regular season in football is a tricky exercise in momentum. Here stand the Houston Texans. They’re 12-4. They’re division winners. And yet, they feel like the biggest losers coming into the tournament.
On the other side, the Bengals have temporarily (the permanency comes if they can keep outperforming our expectations next season) displaced the order of things in the AFC North. Their Week 16 matchup at Pittsburgh was a pseudo play-in game. If the Bengals won, they were in. Many would have expected the more experienced Steelers to make another late season run, and become the team that no one wanted to play in the post-season.
Instead, the Bengals inched past their division rival by a field goal, and became the team no one really thought would actually end up in the post-season.
And here they are, two consecutive playoff appearances for this franchise, which is no small feat. Miss you, Carson Palmer. Or maybe not.
Andy Dalton is not exciting, but he does enough. The defense is not glamorous, but they do have one of the strongest past rushes in the league. A.J. Green, maybe already the best wideout in football. This is a rematch of last year’s wild card match-up, the Bengals remain a house money team in the playoffs, they are a work in progress for which playoff experience will only help for their core group.
As for the Texans. They’re learning how tough expectations can be in the NFL. A year ago, they finally made the playoffs for the first time since the franchise returned to Houston. They were so banged up that T.J. Yates was their starting quarterback. They were also house money. It was a season worth celebrating.
This season, they seemed to have made the leap. But a late season swoon and unimpressive showings against Green Bay and New England during the regular season have left much to be desired from this team.
I suppose much of what you expect from this game depends on just how much you believe in momentum, and all those other fancy narratives.
I still think the Texans are the better team, and they rebound on Sunday.
What does everybody else think?
Known as the face and leader of the Baltimore Ravens from the day he stepped foot on the turf of Memorial Stadium during the franchise’s first game, Ray Lewis has announced after 17 years that this will be his last ride.”I talked to my team today, and I talked to them about life in general,” Lewis told news reporters at the Ravens’ headquarters. “Everything that starts has to end.” “I definitely didn’t prepare for it,” said teammate Ray Rice, holding in tears. “Mentally, he has raised me over the last couple of years. My locker is right next to his, and I just can’t picture Baltimore without him. He has kids, but I was one of his kids.” Ray has said before that once his children were playing at his alma mater, University of Miami, which they are attending in the fall, is when his time will be through. After tearing his triceps during the Cowboys game this past regular season many critics believed that was going to be his last game ever. If anyone would come back from such an injury it was and will be Ray Lewis. It’s just impossible to think he would let that game be known as his last performance. Unfortunately for Ravens fans Sunday will be the last time they will be able to see their beloved Ray Lewis charge out of the tunnel bursting into the most recognizable traditional dance perhaps done in the NFL at M&T Bank Stadium. Even if you’re a Steelers fan you can not help but admire this man’s leadership and workmanship. He’s the second linebacker to win the Super Bowl’s most valuable player award and the first to win it on the winning Super Bowl team. He’s also been to the pro bowl 13 times and has been named the Associated Press All-Pro 10 times. Definitely a future Hall-of-Famer and perhaps the greatest linebacker to ever play the game. Ray Lewis will certainly be missed and hopefully he can end his last season with another ring.
ima miss this ledgend
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