AFC Wild Card 

(5) Buffalo Bills at (4) Houston Texans 

Bills: Remember when they had one of the longest playoff droughts out of the four professional sports? Then in 2017, they snap that and get back to playing football in January for the first time since the late 90s. For the second time in just three seasons, here they are once again back in the postseason. I’ll take it back to the beginning of the year when they started 3-0. After that, they continued to roll. Not many knew about them which is understandable because they do play in the same division as the New England Patriots and they play in a smaller market. They really showed everyone who they were on Thanksgiving Day when they played the Dallas Cowboys. They had a tough stretch of a games in the final weeks of the season. From playing the Cowboys in Texas, to hosting the Baltimore Ravens, then facing the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh and giving New England all, they could handle in week 16. The Bills are one of the more well-rounded teams in the NFL. Josh Allen has improved leaps and bounds from his rookie campaign. He’s still growing as a quarterback. When he drops back to pass, he sometimes gets “happy feet” which means he dances around in the pocket because he’s nervous of the oncoming pressure. That will sometimes mess with his accuracy. The team had a decision to make when it came to their running back situation. Do you keep LeSean McCoy or do you give Devin Singletary a chance? They end up releasing Shady. Devin has been the anchor of the fifth-best run offense in the NFL. Defensively of course is what’s grabbed my attention. They play fast and downhill. On Saturday afternoon, they will kick off Wild Card Weekend in Houston.

Texans: For the fourth time in five seasons under Bill O’Brien, they are AFC South division champions. However, the road to the division title wasn’t the prettiest. I’ve sounded like a broken record player each time I say it, but I just never know what Texans team will show up. When they get down early, they lose their swagger and it shows. Down the stretch, I’ve noticed that Deshaun Watson hasn’t struggled. Over his last three games, he’s thrown five interceptions. When the Texans offense is clicking, this is a scary group for a defense to limit. The passing attack is lethal when Deshaun is taking care of the football of course. They’ve also been able to run the football with consistency. What’s also concerned me has been their lack of efforts on the defensive side. Especially their secondary. It’s been a revolving door of former first-round disappointments. Yet none have truly helped improve their defense on the back end. They’ve allowed over 300 yards passing per game which has accounted for the fourth most in football over that span. Here’s some good news though. They could be receiving a much-needed boost in their front seven. J.J. Watt has been removed from the short-term IR list. He may not be the guy that dominated the defensive end with his three defensive MVP’s in the 2010, but he still makes his presence felt. It’s another year and they’ll help open the NFL postseason. They’ll welcome the Bills to town.

Bills Player to Watch: Duke Williams- The last few weeks of the year, I’ve been saying the one thing the Bills needed was that wide receiver that can go up and get the ball in mid-air. I’m talking about the guy that can be that possession receiver where you can lob it up and he can get it. That’s not John Brown nor Cole Beasley. The Bills added Duke from the practice squad at just the right time. He’s 6’3 and will be an added weapon for this Buffalo offense.

Texans Player to Watch: D.J. Reader- The man in the middle. He’s the clog which helps stuff the running game. One of the best rushing teams in the league is coming to town. With Watt (who will play!) commanding the attention he does and I’m sure Whitney Mercilus will draw attention as well, this allows D.J. to move freely in single man to man blocking schemes. He’ll need to be that scrapper in this one.

Final Analysis: Playoff time is finally here! It’s a brand-new season. Everyone at this point is 0-0 with one goal in mind, Miami. A major key for Buffalo will be for Josh Allen to prevent playing with the happy feet I discussed up top. If he’s tap dancing in that pocket, it’ll be a long day at the office for the Bills. The Texans must make the Bills a one-dimensional team. Make the young quarterback beat you. Houston must also establish the running game on offense and the offensive line must give Watson time to throw from the pocket. The Texans can also take a page from the Patriots book. When New England played Buffalo, the Patriots stuffed the run and forced the Bills into many long yardage situations. They would also rush to keep Allen in the pocket to keep him from scrambling. I can see Houston doing this as well. Watch for Cole Beasley and John Brown on Buffalo. I don’t see the Texans secondary having much of an answer for either receiver.

Prediction: Bills 17 Texans 14






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