Tomorrow, when the Buffalo Bills head into NRG Stadium to take on the Houston Texans, they’ll have a chance at securing a .500 record for the first time since the beginning of the season. A mark of 3-3 is probably the threshold for Bills Twitter to transform back to Dr. Jekyll from its current state of Mr. Hyde (no, not you, Micah).
Social media users should prepare themselves up front. The second Texans’ Quarterback, Deshaun Watson completes a pass, fans will inevitably point out that the Bills passed up on he and Patrick Mahomes last year, which will lead to debates about who ran the draft (Whaley of McDermott), and the wheels go round and round.
Fortunately, the Bills defense looked pretty darn good against the pass last week, holding Marcus Mariota (a similar, albeit less talented version of Watson) to 129 yards through the air, no touchdowns, and one interception. Even more impressive is the fact that they did it without Micah Hyde.
Buffalo will need that same team defense to show up this week. The Houston offense currently ranks fourth in the NFL in yards per game. Even with Hyde back in the lineup. they’ll be a tough out, especially at home.
The One That Got Away?
So uh… That Watson fella is pretty good. Bills Mafia, prepare yourselves up front. The national media will be absolutely insufferable this week if Watson leads the Texans on an offensive onslaught while Allen experiences another bout of futility behind the league’s worst offensive line and receiving corps.
You see, they don’t care about how bad Allen’s supporting cast is. They have a narrative to push and most of them want to see him fail. Most Bills fans know this to be the case just about every week, but this one has some extra intrigue since the team will be going up against a guy that the team passed on in favor of trading down with the Chiefs and selecting TreDavious White (one of the NFL’s top cornerbacks, a fact that they conveniently ignore).
At the moment, it appears that Watson has picked up right where he left off before suffering a campaign-ending ACL tear last season. The 23-year-old is currently seventh in the NFL in passing yards through five weeks, posting eight touchdowns and five interceptions. With outstanding weapons in DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, and a solid offensive line, he’ll lead one of the more talented offenses that the Bills will face this year.
Much like fan morale this season, the Buffalo defense has been up-and-down. They could stone you for a measly 12 points, or they could totally break down and get smacked around en route to another 40-burger. At this point, they’re rather unpredictable. Hopefully, they can thwart a very potent air-raid offense, and spare us all from another week filled with 20/20 hindsight about what the Bills should have done in the 2017 draft.
White VS Hopkins
Win or lose, the battle between cornerback Tre White and Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins will be fun to watch on Sunday.
So far in his young career, White has been a revelation as the Bills’ top corner, serving as an upgrade following the departure of Stephon Gilmore. Sure, there were a handful of rookie mistakes last season, but this year he’s been lights-out.
According to Pro Football Focus, his “PFF score” of 68 ranks him as the 35th best corner in the league this season, but that rating does him zero justice. He belongs in the conversation as a top-10 player in that regard and his matchup with Hopkins will be a heavyweight battle between two of the best young players in the league.
An argument can be made for Hopkins as the best receiver in the NFL this season. He currently leads the league in receiving yards with 594 through five games, though only two of his 39 receptions have resulted in a touchdown. This matchup will be one of the most challenging in White’s career to this point. If he hopes to establish himself as a legitimate shut-down corner in league circles, he will need to thwart the Texans biggest offensive weapon. Should he prove capable of doing so, he’ll give his team a fighter’s chance at a victory.
The McCoy Situation
Lesean McCoy’s status as a potential trade piece has been a topic of intense debate among Bills fans this week. All year long he’s been discussed in trade talks on social media, but that trend spiked in a big way after his hometown Philadelphia Eagles lost Jay Ajayi to a season-ending injury last week.
After his best performance of the season last week against the Titans, it appears as though the offense will go as far as he takes them this year. His 85 yards on the ground may appear pedestrian at first glance, but without his production, the team would have failed to put up points considering the fact that they only managed 82 yards through the air.
Your stance on whether or not to trade McCoy is likely dictated by your feeling on what this season really represents for the future of the Bills. If you believe that it’s a tear-down and rebuild year, well then yes, perhaps trading McCoy is appealing to you, but ask yourself this: Does it really make sense to deprive a developing quarterback of his biggest offensive weapon?
Regardless of what your expectations are, this year is about one person; Josh Allen. Hampering his development in any way is a terrible idea, especially for a quarterback who needs all the help he can get. Regardless, if McCoy puts on another strong performance this weekend, the offers may start pouring in.
I’ve predicted five Bills losses so far this season, and the scores I’ve prognosticated have been way off, but for the sake of consistency, I’ll keep doing them. For some reason, this game just feels winnable. Yeah the Texans are an offensive powerhouse and their defense is no joke either, but something about it feels like a good matchup for the Bills.
Look for the Buffalo defense to remain consistent and carry the team in a low-scoring affair.
Bills 16, Texans 14
Editor’s babble: The Bills will definitely need their defense to perform at least as well as they have the last few weeks in order to have a chance to win this game against the Texans. I’d never bet against Tre’Davious White and think Tremaine Edmunds might also have a big game on Sunday. Thanks to Anthony Sciandra for his terrific contributions to our blog. You can find Anthony on Twitter @SciandraSports and he is also a contributing writer for @diebytheblade.