NEW YORK (AP) Comments on the Cincinnati Bengals by the AP Pro32 panel (ranking in parentheses):
CINCINNATI BENGALS (12)
Chris Berman (ESPN, 12) - Hottest team in playoffs nobody is talking about.
Clifton Brown (Sporting News, 7) - Better equipped than last year to win playoff game in Houston.
Cris Collinsworth (NBC Sports, 12)
Rich Gannon (CBS Sports/SiriusXM NFL Radio, 10) - A franchise-high 51 sacks is a big reason why the Bengals are back in the playoffs.
Bob Glauber (Newsday, 12) - Marvin Lewis plays to win on the final weekend, hoping some momentum heading into the playoffs will make things turn out better this time around.
Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News, 11) - Mike Zimmer has made himself a front-burner candidate for all these NFL head coaching vacancies with another superb season coordinating the Cincinnati defense. The Bengals finished sixth in defense with a bunch of no names.
Clark Judge (CBSSports.com, 12) - Yes, the Bengals draw a descending Houston club in the playoffs, but Cincinnati fans should be concerned ... and here's why: They haven't won a playoff game under Marvin Lewis. Period.
Ira Kaufman (Tampa Tribune, 8) - They have the pass rush to force Matt Schaub into mistakes.
Pat Kirwan (SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com, 12) - A great pass rush and a scrappy offense put this team in the playoffs for the second straight year. Can they beat good teams on the road in the post season is a big question.
John Lynch (Fox Sports, 11) - The Bengals closed hard led by a very underrated and tough defense that was suffocating at the end of the season. Now can they block J.J. Watt?
Alex Marvez (Foxsports.com, 12) - The next step for the Bengals - wining a playoff game for the first time since 1990.
Dan Pompei (Chicago Tribune, 12) - They will need to pick it up offensively to beat the Texans. They have scored just one offensive touchdown in their last eight quarters.