Each week, Football Outsiders takes a look at every game on the NFL schedule with a mix of interesting numbers and in-depth statistical analysis. Much of the analysis is based on DVOA, which takes every single play during the season and compares it to the league average based on situation and opponent. DVOA and Football Outsiders' other advanced stats are explained
here. Remember that 2009 numbers are based on a very small sample size and do not yet include opponent adjustments.
Sunday 1:00 p.m. ET games
This game will be an interesting test of strength versus strength, because so far this season the Bengals have the league's top defense against No. 1 receivers, but rank just 29th against No. 2 and No. 3 options. The Bengals held Braylon Edwards and Greg Jennings each to five passes with no receptions, while Joe Flacco only threw to Derrick Mason once against Cincinnati. Can Matt Schaub win by making guys like Kevin Walter and David Anderson the focus of the offense?
Houston has one very clear advantage over Cincinnati: special teams. Houston ranks fifth in the Football Outsiders special teams ratings, while the Bengals are dead last. The Bengals are actually fourth in punt returns, but they've been horrible in every other aspect of special teams. Houston has been strong in both returns and coverage on kicks and punts, although Kris Brown has been below-average on field goals.
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