Buenos días and Happy Gameday.
The Texans (3-5) are in Cincinnati for a Monday Night Football showdown with undefeated Bengals (8-0).
Nobody's giving Houston a chance, and that's fine.
The last two times this team traveled to Paul Brown Stadium, they were underdogs as well.
In 2009, Houston entered the game at 2-3, and they beat the Bengals by a 28-17 margin in what would be the first of three straight victories.
In 2011, rookie T.J. Yates and the Texans trailed for 58 minutes and 58 seconds. But Yates guided the Texans on a game-winning touchdown drive, drilling Kevin Walter for a 7-yard score with 2 seconds remaining. A few moments after that victory, New Orleans beat the Titans, and the Texans were the AFC South champions.
If you're still reading, thanks.
But If you're still reading now, you're probably thinking, 'That's ancient history. These are two totally different teams.'
That's true in a sense, but Cincinnati is a squad with a lot of experience together, and a lot of holdovers from 2011. They'll trot out the same QB, LT, and elite WR in Andy Dalton, Andrew Whitworth and A.J. Green, respectively.
On defense, seven starters played in 2011.
That's a lot of familiarity.
In the 2011 Wild Card playoff game, J.J. Watt made the greatest play in franchise history when he picked off a Dalton bullet at point-blank range, and gallopped 29 yards into the end zone.
Cornerback, and former Bengal, Johnathan Joseph's logged a pair of interceptions against Cincinnati. His pick last season in Week 12 went for a 60-yard score.
Quarterback Brian Hoyer was 25-of-38 for 269 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions in a 2013 Browns victory over the Bengals.
So remember: several key members of the Texans have experienced success against this franchise.
They've been underdogs before, and are underdogs again.