Predictions are a funny thing. You could look at my predictions for last week's Texans game and find a lot that seems on point. The Texans did lose their first game of the 2014 season. Eli Manning did play well; what's more, Manning threw for 234 yards and 2 TDs, just ever so slightly off from the 230 yards and 2 TDs I foretold. Ryan Fitzpatrick did have his first turnover of the season (and more!). Arian Foster did have his quietest game of the season last week, and Alfred Blue did see an increased workload (we need not focus why that statement was true, only that it was).
Then again, there were missteps in my prediction game. Andre Johnson did not catch a touchdown pass. And although the Texans did find themselves within striking distance of the Giants at a couple of instances during the game, I don't think you'd really say you witnessed "a close one" in last week's 30-17 loss.
What does this mean? I think it's pretty clear. I am honing my psychic craft to a razor sharp edge. Last week, I had a couple of minor missteps. This week, there will be even less error. I'm basically building toward full utilization of a heretofore unfathomable impervious ability to correctly prognosticate anything and everything. I'm on the verge of bending the future to my whims. Truly, you are watching history in the making. I'm glad you could be a part of this.
Enough glad-handing. On to the three (3) things that are sure to happen at NRG Stadium when the Texans play the Bills...
1. There's been some talk about the Texans and Bills being similar teams, and I can see that to some extent, especially when it comes to the idea of both teams wanting to run the ball to minimize the number of chances their QBs must take with the ball.
On the other side of the ball, though, there's more differences than likenesses. For example, the Bills' defensive line, as
Leo Tolstoy Matt Weston explained so eloquently, is a force of nature. The Texans' defensive line features J.J. Watt and what you'd either call question marks or holes, depending on how charitable you're feeling. The Bills have a sizable advantage there, and it's not particularly close, even with the otherworldly skills of Justin James Watt.
Of greatest concern when it comes to Houston's defense is the Texans' startling inability to stop the run. C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson are going to have a field day on Sunday at Houston's expense. Combined, I expect 174 yards rushing and two TDs from the Buffalo running backs.
2. I don't think EJ Manuel is very good. Fortunately for Buffalo, as their fans know all too well, Ryan Fitzpatrick is not getting fitted for a bust in Canton anytime soon either. Call it a hunch, or call it staggeringly impressive psychic intuition, but I think #HoboQB outplays the youngster on Sunday. That doesn't mean Fitzpatrick isn't going to turn the ball over; he will. Twice. One fumble on a strip sack and one interception.
But I think Fitzpatrick will have more success in the passing game than Manuel will, and that will carry the day. Fitzpatrick finishes with 225 yards passing, one TD, and 30 yards rushing. Not impressive stats, but you won't walk away thinking that Buffalo won the QB matchup.
3. Back in 2012, when Mario Williams first returned to Houston, I predicted he'd have at least two sacks against his former team. He only had one and was not nearly the monster I thought he would be. On Sunday, I say he gets another sack, but we end up marveling at how Kyle Williams completely destroyed the interior of Houston's offensive line and had three tackles for loss on Houston running backs.
PUT YOUR NAME ON IT: I was far more confident about the Texans prevailing in this game before news of Arian Foster's possible unavailability and Shane Lechler's likely unavailability (make no mistake--the fact that the Texans acted so quickly to sign Chris Boswell to their practice squad surely means they do, or at least did, not expect Lechler to be able to go on Sunday) came down.
If Foster plays, I think the Texans win this game by six to ten points. Call it Texans 23, Bills 17 in that scenario. If Foster does not play, well...I'm not optimistic, but I also cannot pick EJ Manuel to win on the road with J.J. Watt in the picture. No Arian means Texans 16, Bills 14.
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