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Countdown To Kickoff: Texans at Bills

Morning, all. We're handling our last-minute pre-football rituals before we get the chance to see our Texans take on the Bills in Buffalo this morning. Countdown to the kickoff with the rest of the gang.

Please sir, I want some more (touchdowns for DeAndre).
Please sir, I want some more (touchdowns for DeAndre).
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

So today two teams represented by members of the Bovini tribe are battling it out in Buffalo. The Bills welcomed Rex Ryan this season after Doug Marrone chose to de-camp to coach the offensive line of the Jaguars. Before the season, some fans of defensive football were salivating at the thought of defensive-minded coach Rex Ryan getting his hands on the Bills' defense, which includes such names as Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams and Mario Williams, but it hasn't worked out like some of us expected.

In the meantime, after a series of head-scratching decisions in the first half of the season, second-year coach Bill O'Brien and his coaching staff have righted the ship and have the Texans performing well enough to have won four games in a row. The defense is benefiting from J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing, Whitney Mercilus, Jadeveon Clowney, Johnathan Joseph, Kareem Jackson, Kevin Johnson, and Vince Wilfork finally working together to produce one of the stronger defensive units around the league.

That focus on defense is a good thing, because most would have expected that a game this late in the season this far north would have been conducted in something just shy of a blizzard, necessitating a need for a ground-and-pound philosophy. Instead, today should prove chilly but snow-free. Even so, these are two teams that rely on their running games to shore up their offenses, despite having DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins, two of the best young receivers in the league today.

This is where we gather together with coffee and bruschetta to prep for this afternoon's game. Countdown to kickoff in the comments, and discuss your hopes, fears, and expectations for today's matchups. For those of you playing in our fantasy league, don't forget your picks are due five minutes before kickoff. The Inactives list will be published around 10:45 a.m. CST.  The first quarter thread will be opened 15 minutes before kickoff, at which point this one will close. Enjoy!

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