It's been two years since the Texans had a Week 12 game filled with post-season possibilities.
With a new starting quarterback in Ryan Mallett and a dominant 23-7 win in Cleveland, Houston has a renewed sense of hope heading into the final stretch of the season.
"I think anytime it's around Thanksgiving and you're still in the hunt, that's a good thing," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "You're in the 11th game of the season and you're still there. There is a lot to play for. That's big."
It was O'Brien's message to players during the team's Monday morning meeting. In his post-game locker room speech Sunday, O'Brien emphasized the feeling of winning and everything that went into it. From practices to film study and the extra effort poured into a win, it all needed to be repeated this week against Cincinnati.
"We can't afford to have a bad practice," O'Brien said. "Of course, bad plays happen, but not bad days. You can't have a bad day. You have to have good practices, a lot of energy and keep this thing going. Hopefully we can keep creating turnovers on defense, try not to turn the ball over on offense, we've got to play better on special teams. But it's like I said, last week it was seven one-game seasons; now it's six one-game seasons. Cincinnati is a very difficult challenge."
The (5-5) Texans face the (6-3-1) Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at NRG Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. on CBS KHOU-11 and SportsRadio 610.