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Reply To: ♦ AFC Wild Card Playoffs ♦ Saturday 1/9/16

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WAYNE ROOT

Perfect Play — Cincinnati Bengals
This game, win or lose, is more about how Pittsburgh will win and cover on the road with Big Ben directing his team. Many think his efforts result in an automatic win for the Steelers. Let’s take a look. Ben Roethlidberger throws the ball down field often and far. That’s his foray. The problem is that Roethlisberger doesn’t throw as many touchdowns as one may think he would but plenty of interceptions instead. It could be his age, offensive line or certain defenses used. Only Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown more interceptions on deep passes than Roethlisberger. He has an issue forcing the ball downfield.
Ben has played Cincinnati twice this year and his results in those games shows that he completed 5 out 18 of his deep pass attempts, good for a completion percentage of 27.8%, for a grand total of 105 yards. He also has blanked on any TD passes. Some ask why. The Bengals are one of the best teams in the league at stopping deep passes. Teams have attempted 110 deep throws completing only 34.5% of those attempts. Additionally, they have 15 interceptions, which is best in the NFL. A J McCarron has completed 66% of his passes and does not drop too much in talent in a comparison to injured Andy Dalton. The Bengals defense give Marvin Lewis his best chance to put the 0-6 playoff record behind him. Playoff games are about solid defenses with most everything being equal.

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Pinnacle — Houston Texans
**Wild Card Playoff Game of Year**

Brian Hoyer has the Texans offense balanced and playing better than their competition. Houston may be playing as well as any NFL defense at this time. DeAndre Hopkins will be the difference maker in this game with some highlights catch. The crowd and special teams will make a difference. The frenzy of the home crowd knows how to propel the defensive effort to the next dimension. JJ Watt and Johnathan Joseph should be the beneficiary to this added motivation. The Chiefs enter this game with a 10 game winning streak. This occurrence has happened 14 times in history with just 6 teams coming out on top. Additionally, there is revenge. The Chiefs won in week one and it’s difficult to win twice in the same season against the same team out of division. Again, the Texans have balance at running backs with Blue and Grimes. Defense wins playoff game and no team is doing as much as the Texans are on defense. Houston will win this game outright. The scoring could be limited and field goals and the points will be the difference maker.