Just finished watching a ton of Texans games from this season.
Bills on Defense
This will be a matchup of a decent offense against a decent defense. Houston is a offense heavy team and we have relied on our defense all year. Our defense itself has morphed a bit from the first few games. While we were rarely blitzing early on, now we are more balanced and I think that will help us vs. the Texans' weak O-line. Also, Watson does tend to hold on to the ball - and consequently, I expect a sackapalooza. The Texans appear happy to live with a ton of sacks since every once in a while Watson has the ability to make the defense pay. I expect the Bills to be able to contain Watson.
The meaningful games the BIlls lost have all featured a ton of yards on the ground. There were two reasons for these debacles. One, while the Bills front 4 were pretty stout against the run in these games, the second level was atrocious with the LBs and safeties missing tackle after tackle - the three biggest culprits being Milano, Edmunds and Poyer. The second reason for people running on us successfully was because Milano and Edmunds were unable to shed blocks. There is no doubt the Texans are going to try and establish the run. They have a two headed monster in Hyde and Johnson. And their O-line plays the run better than the pass.
While Hyde gets the hype, I am actually more wary of Johnson. Mainly because Hyde is a downhill power runner and does not really make folks miss. So the plan should be to stack the box when Hyde is in to prevent him getting to the second level. If we dont Hyde will bleed us with 4-5 yards on every play. Of course, then we have to live with our secondary playing people one on one - and the one dimensional Texans relying on Watson make mistakes - I can live with this since Fuller is likely out and our secondary is really the true strength of the team.
Duke Johnson, on the other hand, really can dance. Here stacking the box can create some opportunities for big runs since Johnson is quite elusive and can exploit our tackling weakness either through running or through catching screen passes. So, when Johnson is in there, we should spread the field and have someone spy on Johnson all the time.
Coming to the secondary, Tre covering Hopkins when he lines up outside is a no-brainer. But what should we do when the Texans line him up in the slot? I believe, we should alternate Tre shadowing Hopkins with playing zone coverage on him with different personnel to keep the Texans honest.
Bills on Offense
This matchup is the weak link for both teams. Without Clowney and with a rusty Watt I dont see an effective pass rush. I have seen Mercilus since his Illinois days and he is quite effective one-on-one but he really cant beat double teams.
And oh, the Texans secondary is truly atrocious. I hope Daboll lets Allen throw it deep. With a weak Texans pass rush and Allen's scrambling ability, there is no reason for Allen to get rid of the ball in 2.5 seconds on dink and drop plays. You dont go conservative when you have Brown and Beasley against the Texans secondary that has missed Matthieu all year. There is no Gilmore there.
Successfully going deep will open it up underneath for Singletary and Knox to feast on. Yes I am suggesting we rely on our franchise QB to deliver the win. He has had enough games now. If he cannot dissect a weak secondary while facing a relatively weak pass rush, maybe we need to rethink whether he is the franchise QB, no? Show some confidence in the lad.
I am quite sure the Texans will come out trying to stop Singletary. The only way to free him is by establishing the deep threat.