Texans Vs. Bengals Reaction:
Getting a win in the playoffs is always impressive, but the final score was not. That game felt like a three score game with the Texans doubling the Bengals in first downs, outgaining them by 222 yards, and dominating the ball with a 38:49 to 21:11 advantage in time of possession, but they only won by six points. Not only did they win by less than a touchdown, but had Andy Dalton not overthrown a wide open AJ Green on a double move, we might be talking about a Texans loss today. Safe to say, if the Texans play like that again on Sunday at Foxboro, the Patriots will beat them again.
However, lets remember that the Bengals defense is a lot better than the Patriots so a couple of those four field goals could become touchdowns. The Bengals ranked 8th in yards allowed and 6th in points allowed, better than the 9th and 25th rankings for the Patriots. There were opportunities there for the Texans in the last game against the Patriots but they folded after a couple early mistakes. If the Texans get off to a good start, it should be a pretty good game; the Patriots are not unbeatable. I'm still going to pick the Patriots to win the game, but I think it'll be a 7-13 point margin instead 28 like the last time. Remember, the New England Patriots beat the Jets at home 45-3 early in December during the 2010 season, only to lose to the Jets at home a month later in the playoffs; the second game of a rematch is not a lock to play out like the first.
National Title Game:
I don't see this game as a blowout like most people are predicting. Alabama's offense is better than that of Notre Dame so I like them to win, but I don't think either offense will move the ball well. I expect this to be a low scoring game that's close into the second half. The only way it becomes a blowout in my opinion is if there is a big special teams or defensive touchdown.
One thing to watch, running quarterbacks have given the Alabama defense trouble (Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel), but those running quarterbacks have to be able to pass the ball well to keep the Alabama defense honest otherwise they'll crowd the box and destroy them like they did against Denard Robinson and Michigan this season. Everett Golson is closer to Robinson than he is to Newton or Manziel, so I expect Alabama to handle him, but if he completes a couple of tough passes early on, watch out.
Bottom line, the defenses will carry this game. In a battle 1st vs. 6th ranked defense, points will be hard to come by. Not sure what I'm rooting for, both fan bases will be equally annoying after a win, maybe a tornado, just hope we get a better game than last year.
Notre Dame 13