Up north in Buffalo the Buffalo Bills welcome the Houston Texans, who make the long trip to chilly Buffalo for a pivotal meeting. It doesn’t look like much, the Bills a 5-6 team against the 6-5 Texans, but both teams are vying for a Wild Card in the postseason. It will surely take more than a win today, but it is an important game nonetheless. For the Bills this is almost a must win scenario, as following to 5-7 on the season will nearly be a death sentence for their playoff chances. The Texans have been hot, one of the hottest teams in the NFL believe it or not. They have won four straight games, starting with a win over the Titans, carrying over last week to a blowout win against the Saints. They won three straight with a mix of their third stringer from the start of the season, T.J. Yates, and starter Brian Hoyer. Ryan Mallet opened as the backup and was in a quarterback battle with Hoyer for much of the season, until he got cut for being a complete moron, essentially.
Hoyer is back and looked great for the Texans last week. He completed 21 of 27 passes for 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. The Texans ultimately routed the Saints 24-6 who have been having all kinds of trouble this season. Houston will need to keep the success going if they want to find a spot in the postseason. Nice run, but there really is no time for them to take the foot off the pedal. I have my doubts if they can keep going at this pace. Note that three of those four games were at home, they won one on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals, an impressive road win for them. The Bengals win being their most impressive of the year.
A win over the Bills at first look wouldn’t look like much, but travelling all the way up to cold Buffalo from Texas could be a troublesome scenario for the Texans. Also, there is the belief that Houston is going to fall eventually and why not it be a trappy looking game against the Bills? The Bills are coming off two hard losses in a row, first against the Patriots in a 20-13 loss and then a 30-22 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Tyrod Taylor will be getting the nod at quarterback this week for the Bills after he had to miss week 8 with an injury. Taylor has been great since coming back, passing for 5 touchdowns with no interceptions. Against the Dolphins he had a spectacular quarterback rating of 146.5. I will give it to him, he has been a better NFL quarterback then I anticipated. Big game today against the Texans, a good defense.
Houston Texans vs. Buffalo Bills Betting Odds:
vs. Bills -3.5(-115)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Texans vs. Bills Pick:
This looks like a game of defense vs. defense. The Texans thanks to their defense have won four straight games. Note that during that run they have held teams to 8.75 points per game. The Bills’ defense though has been so hit and miss, in one game they look like a pretty good unit, others not so much. Holding the Patriots to only 20 points was a nice accomplishment. However, they haven’t been where a lot of people envisioned them being near the top of the NFL. The Bills are currently 14th in the NFL in total defense. They are allowing 23.4 points per game this season. We expect more from a Rex Ryan defense, and I think he was expecting more out of his defense as well. I know he likes to talk a lot, but he did compare this unit to the 2000 Ravens before the season started. Yeah, about that, Rex.
On offense the Bills are scoring virtually the same amount of points, 24.2 points a game. It seems that quarterback controversy has gone to the wayside with Tyrod Taylor under center. For the reason Taylor has passed for 14 touchdowns and thrown only 4 interceptions. He can run as well, as he is a scrambler, rushing for 290 yards and an additional 2 touchdowns. I do think this will be a competitive game between the Texans and Bills. But I don’t understand why the books are giving the hook to the Bills. I think that is telling. It is my contention that the sportsbooks think this is going to be a win for Buffalo. I feel like with a spread of +3 they would have still gotten even action. It won’t be a popular pick, but I’m going to look for a letdown for the Texans on the road in Buffalo Sunday.
PICK: BILLS -3.5 (-110)