On Sunday, the Texans face yet another tough test; this time against the potential AFC Super Bowl representative Buffalo Bills. Coming off 24-9 a beating at the hands of the Carolina Panthers at home, the Davis Mills-led Texans will enter Buffalo as huge underdogs. The opening point spread on this game was an eye-popping 17 points in favor of the Bills and has held relatively steady all week through the time this article was published.
The Texans will have to pull off a minor miracle to win this game against a very dangerous offense and a stacked defense. The Bills are going places. They are bona fide. They are legit. It’s an interesting (Bills) and sad (Texans) comparison to when these teams met in the NFL Playoffs just about three months short of two years ago.
Let’s see how the BRB staff sees this one playing out.
Matt Weston: Bills 41, Texans 10.
Like Carolina, the Buffalo Bills have one of the best defenses in the NFL to start he 2021 season. Like Carolina, Buffalo has a deep front. They utilize twists and stunts to jam open rush lanes, They blitz with their overhang defenders and linebacker Matt Milano, who is a great pass rusher against secondary blockers, to make life hell for opposing offenses. The Bills went from a great defense with a fun quarterback, to a mediocre defense with a MVP quarterback who carries their entire offense, to a complete Super Bowl contending team. This idea of an open Davis Mills offense just means the top button of an Oxford shirt has been popped. Like we did against Carolina, pray for Davis Mills. We could see Jeff Driskel on Sunday afternoon.
Houston’s defense only has some success when they are turning the ball over. If not, they can’t get stops. Baker Mayfield had one incompletion. The Panthers scored on each one of their drives in the second half. The Bills have had some fumbling issues, and Allen’s accuracy had been a little wild until he found his touch against Washington. Maybe the Texans can create one or two turnovers to lessen the blow. Aside from that, nd being able to create pressure against Darryl Williams, the Texans don’t have the scheme or the talent to stop Buffalo. The pass rush lacks impact players. The linebackers can’t cover, and Zach Cunningham’s run fits are hilarious. Houston’s cornerback play doesn’t exist.
Allen is so good at finding the third and fourth receivers in his progression. With a well designed offense and this matchup, he should post 400 combined yards and 4 touchdowns to deal the Texans the first embarrassment they’ve worked so hard to avoid.
Chris: Bills 34, Texans 16.
This is arguably the toughest game left on Houston’s schedule, depending of course on how the rest of the season plays out. It’s a mismatch on paper, and it is likely to be a mismatch on the field. Josh Allen and the Bills offense is exactly the type of matchup that will exploit Lovie Smith’s defense where the Jaguars could not, unless there is some unexpected adjustment made by Lovie. Allen will lull you to sleep and then kill you with the deep ball, especially when he and Stefon Diggs are on the same page.
I don’t feel like Houston’s offense will have much success against an excellent Buffalo defense, but even if they did have some ability to move the ball, Houston’s poor secondary play and lack of pass rush is going to be heavily exploited in this game.
l4blitzer: Bills 38, Texans 13.
Now is the autumn of our discontent, without the hope of something, or someone, making it a glorious summer. The past three weeks saw games that, on the surface, were ones that you might think Houston might legitimately win or had chances to steal. That is not the case here. Buffalo has the playoff experience and is itching to get back and move past their disappointing playoff performance in Kansas City. Josh Allen has legit-MVP aspirations and the Bills, after a derptastic 4th quarter against the Steelers in Week 1, are looking the part of AFC powerhouse. The Texans are at Stop 2 of the Davis Mills Starting Quarterback Tour, and you would be hard-pressed to find a worse spot for a rookie to make his first road start than Buffalo. Houston’s defense, if they aren’t getting turnovers, is primed for dissection by both the run and the pass. Unfortunately, the Bills can do both fairly well, and Josh Allen can do both by himself.
If Washington, which has far better defensive talent, can get gashed for 43 points, is there any legitimate hope that the Texans can hold the Bills in check? Even if the Texans can force a couple of turnovers, their offense, even sans the hyper-conservative game plan they executed against Carolina, is not likely to generate a lot of yards or points.
I suppose it is a positive that the Texans are getting some key players back into the fold, like Justin Reid and Ka’imi Fairbairn. Yet those reinforcements are akin to putting a couple of extra lifeboats on the Titanic before its date with an iceberg. While it won’t be that cold, this iteration of the Bills could be as good as those nightmare teams of the early 1990s, and we have very, very painful memories of what those teams did to the Houston NFL franchise. As for the Texans, they have won in Buffalo before, (2003, 2009), but they don’t go up to Buffalo all that much (last visit was in 2015). My sense is that this game will not be the relatively close affair it was back in 2015.
Maybe the Bills come out a little sluggish, overlooking the Texans at first, and the Houston squad is able to get a slim first half lead. Outside of that, expect Buffalo to be in the driver’s seat for the bulk of the competitive phase of the game.
Actually, I think that the Bills are a mature enough squad that they start strong and take care of business. The Texans make a few plays here and there, but this one is never really in doubt, and the squad will cry zero tears about seeing Buffalo in their rear view mirrors at the end of the day.
Evan: Bills 38, Texans 13.
The Bills are the most likely candidate to hand Houston a blowout loss. Their team is stacked on both sides of the ball, and they have an MVP frontrunner at quarterback in Josh Allen. Last week, the Bills were able to score 43 points against a better-than-average Washington defense. If they carry that same momentum into this game, Houston has a lot to worry about.
This will also be Davis Mills’ second career start at quarterback, and it wouldn’t be shocking if he had some “welcome to the NFL” moments during this matchup. There’s no question that Buffalo is going to be a real test for the Stanford product.
Sunday may be a day that Texans fans will want to ignore, as the team has almost zero advantages. Buffalo could get off to a hot start, and by the end of the first quarter may have already put the game away. The only thing to look forward to is that the entire organization could be given a serious wake-up call if the on-field performance is bad enough.
bfMFd: Bills 45, Texans 9.
The evolution of Texans fans so far in 2021:
- Preseason: Lucky to win four games.
- Week 1: SUPER BOWL BOUND, BABY! LOVIE SMITH 4EVER!
- Week 2: We would have won this game if TyGod wasn’t hurt.
- Week 3: Davis Mills was the best QB in the entire 2021 NFL Draft! Burn the defense down! Lovie SUCKS!
So what’s in store for Week 4?
First, very little has changed from the preseason. The biggest revelation is that Tim Kelly isn’t kitten, which is a pretty big deal, but there’s no skill position talent on the roster aside from Brandin Cooks. Culture still doesn’t win games. The defense is an abyss of suck.
The Bills, on the other hand, don’t suck. I see some great comments in the thread already, so I won’t duplicate that effort.
What I will say is that, no, Davis Mills is not good. When the Bills take away Cooks as the primary on Sunday, Mills will struggle; he doesn’t progress his reads well. Plus, this season seems to be full of melodramatic rollercoasters of emotion, and it just seems fit that Mills goes from the best rookie QB in the NFL to looking like a guy who didn’t play much in college.
Randall: Bills 42, Texans 10.
The Texans stand no chance. This is one of those games where a few minutes in the score is 7-3 or something dumb and every Texans fan gets hope that it won’t be a blowout, and every Twitter account and Instagram page starts posting about how the Texans aren’t getting blown out in the first part of the game. Then the Bills proceed to score three touchdowns straight like they did against Washington and there’s no going back from that point.
The NFL is a cruel world that rewards talent above all else and comparing Buffalo to Houston in terms of talent is like taking the 1992 Dream Team with Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley and comparing them to your local high school basketball team. The Bills are stacked and the only teams that rival their talent (IN MY OPINION) are the Chiefs, Bucs, Rams, and Browns. In terms of talent, the Texans rival that of the Jets, Lions, and Jaguars.
The Texans have surprised a lot of people by not being as terrible as they thought they’d be, but since the Bills actually started being competitive in 2019 and beyond, they haven’t lost a game like this. The Bills don’t fall for these trap games and never take an opponent for granted. Every game is taken seriously and Sean McDermott deserves a ton of credit. The Bills show up, perform, and go home making sure everyone knows they’re the real deal. Sunday will be more then a Texans loss. It will be McDermott putting on an absolute coaching clinic over David Culley, his former QB coach.
This kind of slaughter really shouldn’t be aired on live television, but who cares when the NFL gets ratings as good as they do? They’ll let anything slide.
Matt Robinson: Bills 34, Texans 10.
It is admittedly a tough break for the rookie QB to be going against such formidable defenses in back-to-back weeks. Buffalo has essentially bundled up as many edge prospects as their previous draft capital could afford and thrown them at the defensive line rotation to see what stuck. Now a line once championed by Mario Addison and the ghost of Jerry Hughes finally has a stable of different bodies to run at opposing quarterbacks. I expect steady pressure most of the game, as Carolina enjoyed success calling blitzes repeatedly last Thursday.
Thankfully Tim Kelly and Pep Hamilton have an extended week in order to get Mills enough reps for him to be comfortable with the additions on his plate. Hopefully David Culley was earnest in his remarks about Mills being able to handle more during the post-game presser. Because as it stands now, Mills is going to have to speed up his play clock significantly when going through reads if he wants to stay clean on Sunday. Another repeat or one upping of last week’s 4 sacks and 9 hits will not bode well for Houston’s offense. It’s not all on the rookie when limitations can be magnified if the run game is non-existent (again), the pass protection is inconsistent, and the complimentary skill weapons are not winning matchups regularly, outside of Brandin Cooks. Anthony Miller, Jordan Akins, and the highest paid third down back in football need to show more for this team to have hope of success.
Defensively, there are lessons to be learned from both the success of the Steelers as well as the failures of Washington. Buffalo’s personnel is that of an ultra spread philosophy, making it nearly impossible for Lovie Smith to call man coverage in good conscience even if he did somehow trust his corners. The Steelers showed the blueprint in Week One that effective zone coverage was needed in order to combat this trio of lethal Bills receivers. However if you are not generating pressure with the front four like the Steelers did, you could easily end up looking like Washington against them.
Unfortunately, to this point, we simply have yet to truly see a consistent four-man combination emerge that inspires backfield-disrupting confidence. Ross Blacklock and Jon Greenard are two X-factors who at the moment are Houston’s most likely bets at having potential three down defensive linemen. Without pressure, Josh Allen can throw darts all game long against a defense that so far week in and week out has shown very large cushions in their zones.
This will be a good test for Justin Reid’s knee. His presence will be needed to avoid plays like Lonnie Johnson Jr. essentially becoming a right fielder. Unless Houston’s defensive line is willing to take a performance enhancing substance abuse suspension later in the season, it’s hard not to picture Buffalo having its way Offensively.
Kenneth L.: Bills 27, Texans 13.
I have had three people ask me about the line on this game at 16.5. Winning by two touchdowns and a field goal is a tall task for any pro team. I am going to assume that the Bills roll out their B playbook on Sunday and keep the scheming to a minimum.
The revelation of Emmanuel Sanders for Bills has been immense. He’s taking advantage of coverage being placed towards Diggs and has been dangerous in the middle of the field. Buffalo lacks a bell cow RB to be afraid of, but if we can’t stop the run, this game is over.
A 1-3 start to the season isn’t exactly fun, but as we all know the situation at hand requires a soft touch to this team.
Tim: Bills 34, Texans 17.
After a confusing performance to open the season against the Steelers, the Bills have found themselves. On the other sideline, after an inspired performance to open the season against the Jaguars, the Texans are struggling. We knew Houston’s defense lacked impact players, and I expect we’ll be reminded repeatedly of that unfortunate truth on Sunday in Buffalo as Josh Allen strafes the Texans through the air. If Allen throws for less than 300 yards against the Texans’ beleaguered secondary, consider it a moral victory of sorts.
Offensively, Davis Mills will have to succeed against a stout defense in a rough environment. We haven’t seen anything in his brief NFL tenure to believe he’s up to that task, though I’d love to be surprised. Houston’s only prayer is for Mills to somehow move the ball through the air underneath while mixing in an occasional deep shot, as it seems foolish to count on the running attack to alleviate the pressure Buffalo will surely bring.
I fear it’s going to be a long day in Western New York as the Bills cover (or push, depending on when the wager was laid) that egregious point spread.
This one could be ugly. Very ugly. Or perhaps even with Mills at the helm, the Texans will surprise us with a competitive and entertaining football game. Use the comments below to predict the score, and above all else, enjoy the game! I’m grumpy with this team too, but we only get 16 (or 17) of these a year!