HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 04: Rookie quarterback T.J Yates #13 of the Houston Texans walks off the field after defeating the Atlanta Falcons on December 4, 2011 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. Texans won 17 to 10. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)
The Texans have won six straight games, but can the magic of T.J. Yates carry them past the desperate Bengals?
Week 14 of the 2011 NFL season brings us a Texans vs. Bengals matchup that is hard to pick. Houston has won a franchise-record six straight games despite various limbs falling apart on various crucial pieces of their offense. But can the Bengals, losers of three of their last four, take advantage of the beat-up Texans? Let's look at the expert predictions.
SB Nation's own Andrew Sharp likes the Texans, despite all the injuries, in his weekly NFL Picks column.
Got a good feeling about Houston, even if they got insanely lucky when a T.J. Yates pick-six got called back against the Falcons last week, allowing Houston to keep driving and eventually score a TD. That's a 14-point swing thanks to a Dunta Robinson holding call that had nothing to do with the pick six. And you know what? Stuff like that is why I've got a good feeling about Houston. (And stuff like that NEVER happens to the Bengals.)
But Sports Illustrated's Peter King's picks the Bengals to win 20-17, playing the "backs against the wall" card:
Very tough game to call. In fact, talking to Arian Foster the other day about Texans QB T.J. Yates, he very nearly sold me that Yates could pull off Houston's third straight win with a third-string quarterback. But this is a game Cincinnati needs much more than Houston. And the last time they played, the two stars for Houston were Matt Schaub with four TD passes and Andre Johnson with eight catches. We won't see Schaub Sunday, and I don't expect we'll see Johnson. But we will see a quarterback from the Houston suburb of Katy -- Andy Dalton.
Meanwhile, the ESPN.com panel is also in love with Cincinnati, with six of the eight experts selecting the Bengals. CBSSports.com's experts put a little more faith in the Texans, who can wrap up the AFC South with a a franchise-record 10 wins, leaning 3-2 in favor of Houston.
SB Nation's own Andrew Sharp