As he does every gameday morning, BBD Editor Mike Watkins is back with his five keys for the Bills to key on in order to potentially beat the Texans.
1. Power Outage: The Bills are going to have their hands full on Sunday as they try and keep the leader for defensive player of the year, JJ Watt, in check. The Texans move him around both inside and out and even when he doesn’t seem to be in position to make a play he still does. What cannot happen is a lot of three and outs and short drives. This will only keep a very talented defense rested and thus effective through the whole game. The Bills want to slow down Watt and that defense, they will have to rely on long drawn out drives to grind them down. Unfortunately that is not something Buffalo has been capable of much this year
2. There is a Hole: Many look at the Texans defense as nearly impenetrable. The fact of the matter is it does have a weak spot and its right up the middle. The Texans defense is surprisingly soft in the middle of the field especially in pass defense. Their CB’s do a great job defending outside the numbers but inside the numbers they have real issues and Green Bay exposed it. Their S play is average at best and with Cushing gone that makes a soft spot even softer. I expect the Bills coaches have figured this out and the Bills will use a lot of crossing patterns and middle screens. If the Bills can consistently make it past the first level of Defense by the run or the pass they will be in good position to pull an upset.
3. Run, Run, Run: The Texans are not blind, they have seen the Bills defense get gashed by other teams for nearly the entire year so far. So obviously they are going to try to do to the Bills what they do to every other team and that is run the ball down the Bills throat early and often. The Bills are going to have to sell out early to stop this and be extremely disciplined. It’s also on the offense though. If you want to get the Texans away from running the ball get up on them early. Schaub is a good QB but not a great one. The Bills stand a much better shot if they hedge their bets on Schaub’s arm vs. Fosters Legs. The Texan offense is not built to play from behind and the last thing they want is to get to a point where they have to pass
4. Make him move: The sack numbers for the Bills have been less than stellar this year and against Schaub they are not likely to get much better. Schaub gets the ball out quick or he makes the smart decisions by throwing it away. However the Texans OL is one of the weaker spots on their team so the Bills could take advantage if the talent along the DL decides to show up. Sacking Schaub will be tough but making him move off his spot is just as important. Schaub doesn’t like to be flushed out of the pocket and he doesn’t like to be hurried. When these things start to happen Schaub tends to become mistake prone and this is where the Bills will have to cash in if they hope to have a chance
5. Its time to be Special: The Texans Special Teams have not been good this year. They often make costly penalties and their coverage and return teams are average at best. The Bills on the other hand have been pretty good on returns and this is an area that the Bills will have to take advantage of. Big plays on special teams can be huge momentum shifters in games and the Bills will need as many as they can get. I imagine the Texans will do all they can to not let the return game hurt them so if the Bills are given the opportunity they have to capitalize on it