It’s playoff time. And what a way to kick things off as the Buffalo Bills head to NRG Stadium to take on the Houston Texans.
All is not well with Sean McDermott’s team as they finished their season 1-3, with all four games seeing them score under 20 points. In fact, they failed to pass that mark in nine of their 16 games.
No one pulls away from the Bills though, with their average points lost standing at 16.2, the second best in the NFL. They are also third in total yards conceded.
Bill O’Brien’s best chance at victory will come if the home side can take an early lead and make Josh Allen chase the game. Make this QB take chances and you increase the likelihood of him throwing a pick.
This season, their defence has held strong and helped the Bills play with time and confidence. We’ve yet to properly see the second year gun-slinger have to chase the game with pressure and the season on the line.
Only once have they lost by more than one touchdown. They may not be a heavy-scoring offence, but they are always in the mix come the final quarter..
The handicap sits at 2.5, and even if the Texans win, this is going to be close. This may come down to a field goal, with the Bills only losing by a couple if they are to go down.
Two years ago, the Tennessee Titans, with the help of Marcus Mariota passing a touchdown to himself, beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Wild Game only to see their playoff dreams dashed by the New England Patriots 35-14.
Mike Malarkey was sacked as head coach and former Pats linebacker Mike Vrabel was brought in to take Nashville side from good to great. Two years later, the head coach has a chance to dump the Super Bowl champs out of contention and keep this ridiculous dream season alive.
Going into Week 17, it looked like the Titans – if they could beat the Texans – would face the Chiefs once again. But the Miami Dolphins hadn’t read the script, and beat the Pats in Foxborough to help Andy Reid’s team jump into the AFC bye spot.
On Saturday, all eyes will be on Derrick Henry, the NFL’s leading rusher in 2019. Many believe the best way to beat the Champions is on the ground, but amazingly, Bill Belichick’s side has only conceded one rushing TD all season.
Equally, they have only allowed their opponents’ wide receivers to score four. Where they have been vulnerable – in comparison – is against tight ends. The running game will be important to open up the passing options on play-action for Ryan Tannehill, but watch out for Jonnu Smith to take advantage.
He already has three touchdowns to his name on only 38 receptions. As the Pats think up a plan to stop Henry and A.J Brown, the athletic TE could be the man Tannehill targets in the red zone.