AFC Wild Card: Bills Bring Stingy Defense To NRG Stadium

By , SportsRadio 610

Oddsmakers are picking the Texans at home against the Bills, but not by much.

The Texans are three-point favorites to win their wild card round matchup Saturday. 

They enter the game as the AFC South champions with a 10-6 record. 

The Bills have the same record, but earned a wild card spot. 

Texans head coach Bill O’Brien addressed the Bills’ strengths at Monday’s press conference. He noted their combination of talent and coaching defensively, and called Bills quarterback Josh Allen “dangerous” because of his decision-making and athleticism.

The Bills give up the third-fewest yards per game and the fourth-fewest yards per play. They also gave up the second fewest points and points per game of any team in the league.

Houston native Ed Oliver is dynamic on the Bills’ interior defensive line and presents a difficult matchup. 

O’Brien acknowledged Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White is one of the best Houston will face. 

He can press, play off and he’s a physical defensive back. 

“With their scheme and their players and how they coach it and how they play it, it's very difficult to get the ball downfield,” O’Brien said Monday. “It's very, very difficult. They do a good job of making sure that they keep plays in front of them, no matter what coverage they're in and they do a good job of combining coverage and rush to give you a problem there, too. So, yeah, it's difficult.”

Offensively, the Bills do not stack up nearly the same. They’re ranked 24th in yards per game and 23rd in points per game, while the Texans rank in the top 15 in both categories.

The Bills’ passing game ranked 26th in yards per, with Allen ranked 35th in passing yards per game.

Allen does, however, have 20 touchdown passes to just nine interceptions and he’s run for 510 yards. 

“He’s just playing really well. He makes good decisions with the ball,” O’Brien said. “He’s very well coached. Brian Daboll does a good job with him. He knows how to run their offense. He knows what’s expected of him. He can run. He’s a very athletic guy, he’s got good speed. I think he has 3,000 yards passing and 500 yards rushing, so this is a guy that is a very dangerous guy, so we have to do a good job.” 

His weapons are John Brown, Cole Beasley and Devin Singletary and Frank Gore out of the backfield.

Brown has 72 catches for 1,060 yards and six touchdowns. 

If Texans fans could handpick a team for the Texans to open these playoffs against, it’d probably be the Bills. The only team they beat with a winning record was the Titans and lost the Patriots twice. 

The Texans beat both teams.

Houston has the better quarterback and the more productive offense. 

The Texans rank 13th in total offense and 14th in total points.

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins finished the season tied with Keenan Allen for second with 104 catches, even though Allen played in the Chargers finale and Hopkins did not play in the Texans'.

From Week 5 to Week 16, the Texans were second in the AFC in points per game, total net yards per game and passing touchdowns, trailing only the Baltimore Ravens.

The Texans’ defense is in the bottom five when it comes to giving up yards. But they went into the final game of the regular season tied for seventh in the NFL with 14 forced fumbles.

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