In order to get a better understanding of the current state of affairs on the eve of the 2019 NFL Playoffs and the Texans’ Wild Card game with the Buffalo Bills, Battle Red Blog spoke with Buffalo Rumblings contributor Corey Giacovelli.
Thanks to Corey for participating in the conversation!
You can check out what I had to say on Buffalo Rumblings here.
1. Why are the Bills in the playoffs this year? What changed between this year and last when the team went 6-10?
The Bills are in the playoffs because they took advantage of a generous schedule and won a couple key games on the road. At the end of the day, Buffalo went out and took care of business. They showed the world that they can make some noise when they defeated Dallas and Pittsburgh on the road.
What makes this team different from last year is a complete overhaul on offense for the team. When you look at the Houston-Buffalo game last season, you will notice that not a single person who caught a pass for the Bills is on the roster right now. That is a big change. The only returning player on the offensive line is Dion Dawkins. This is not the same offense that struggled to move the ball last year, so it will be interesting to see what happens.
2. What match-up are you most looking forward to in the game?
The big match-up that will probably decide the game is DeAndre Hopkins versus Tre’Davious White. One of the best receivers in the game will be going against one of the top corners in the game, so it will be fun to watch which player makes more plays to help out his team. It may end up being a cat and mouse game between the teams because Hopkins occasionally lines up in the slot and Buffalo defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier did not specify if White would follow Hopkins all over the field. Putting Hopkins in the slot may free him up for Houston’s offense to move the football.
3. What is the biggest red flag for each team?
The biggest red flag for each team is the other receiver-corner match-up that could take place. For Houston, I am taking about Will Fuller, who is dealing with an injury; it is a mystery on whether or not he will be available. The offense for Houston is so different when he is on the field due to his abilities in the vertical passing game. For Buffalo, it is the cornerback that would be line up opposite him in Levi Wallace. Wallace is dealing with an ankle sprain that may keep him out of the game on Saturday. Both teams have to be worried about whether or not their respective players will be available because of how much of an impact they can have on their teams.
4. Why will the Bills win Saturday?
The Bills will win on Saturday because of the transformation the offense has gone through in a year. This team is now able to put up points when needed, which is what they struggled to do against Houston last season. On the flip side, Buffalo’s defense last year sacked Deshaun Watson seven times and are even better this season. I know the Texans improved their offensive line, but this Bills team is hungry to get their first playoff victory in a long, long time. Josh Allen is ready to make a jump and show the world that he is a young promising quarterback that can take this team to the next level.
5. What is your score prediction?
Call me biased, but I have faith in this football team pulling out a tough 21-17 road victory.