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Date: Saturday, January 4th, 2020
Time: 4:35 PM ET
Location: NRG Stadium (Houston, TX)
Buffalo Bills Analysis
Finishing the regular season at 10-6, the Bills are heading into the playoffs on a 2 game losing streak. Their offense has been dismal recently, failing to eclipse 20 points in four straight games. Yet and still, they have proven they can win close games on the road. Only 2 of their 6 losses came on the road, against the Patriots and Browns. They have shown the confidence to win on the road under the bright lights, with a statement victory versus the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. With solid receivers, a mobile quarterback, and stout defense, this is a dangerous team this postseason. In order for them to have success, they need their offense to get going against one of the worst defenses statistically in the NFL.
Buffalo Bills Depth Chart
Houston Texans Analysis
The Texans will have a chance to avenge sports history against the Bills in this home matchup. After announcing that J.J. Watt will be able to play Saturday, they have the health and talent to win this game. The Texans will look to avenge their disappointing Wild Card loss at home last year. Deshaun Watson and Deandre Hopkins will need to carry the load for them to advance.
Houston Texans Depth Chart
Josh Allen has been consistent from start to finish this season. Despite only playing one drive with five yards last week, he is still ranked the 6th best QB fantasy-wise for the 2019 season. His threat as a runner opens up the door even more for him in the passing game. After struggling early in the year to take care of the ball, he has a total of 4 Ints/fumbles since Week 7. That is tremendous given how young he is. The Bills have some playmakers, but do not boast any All-Pro talents offensively, making this even more impressive. Look for him to go for well over 200 yards and a couple touchdowns against the 4th worst passing defense in the NFL. One thing to note is that J.J Watt will be playing, so pressure on this young quarterback may be a game changer.
Deshaun Watson performed as one of the best QBs in the league this year. He ranked 4th for fantasy this year, and has the ability to dictate the entire game. With his experience from college and the confident nature he possesses, he steps up in the big games. They will need Watson at his A game against a Bills defense that ranks 4th against the pass. If he can take care of the football while still being aggressive down the field, he will have a big day.
Devin Singletary will need to get going early if the Bills hope to take this game on the road. His usage and production have been up and down this season. He never really got full reign as the No.1 running back until about Week 9. His best game of the season came against Denver, surpassing 100 yards only one time this year. Frank Gore began the year taking the majority of carries. If Singletary does struggle on the ground, look for the veteran running back to get some carries. Buffalo’s running game is not lethal by any means, but they are going against a defense that has given up 121 rushing yards per game this season.
The downfall of the Texans in this matchup may be the run game. Although they have had success on the ground at times this year, they have become one dimensional at points throughout the season. Carlos Hyde needs to get chunks of yards on 1st and 2nd down to reduce the amount of 3rd and longs for the Texans. The Bills rank 10th for run defense, so this may be a challenge.
The duo of John Brown and Cole Beasley has been pretty special of late. If one does not have it going, the other seems to pick up the slack. The defensive scheme and secondary of the Texans will allow for several short yard pickups and potential 3rd down conversions. Josh Allen can also take some deep shots down the field to Brown. These are the two main threats for the passing game, and they can have success against the Texans.
Deandre Hopkins has the ability to takeover a game the way Michael Thomas can. If he can stay healthy and mix up his combination of routes, he can get loose against the Bills secondary. Given that their game plan will focus on him, Will Fuller V, Kenny Stills, and Darren Fells will need to be huge parts of the passing game as well. Both Stills And Fuller are questionable to play Saturday, so keep an eye out for that.
Buffalo is 1-4 in their last 5 games against Houston. While the Buffalo offense is very lethal, their defense is balanced and aggressive. Houston is in the middle of the pack offensively and defensively, but have the star power to overcome this. This will certainly be a close game, and both teams have won their fair share of close games this year. Odds favor the Texans by just over two points. Given their Wild Card lost last year at home, the Texans will do everything in their power to jump the gun early and win this game.