Monday Morning Breakdown

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Eric Wood | Looking ahead to the playoffs and how the Bills can advance

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) runs. Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans, October 14, 2018 at NRG Stadium. Photo by Bill Wippert
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) runs. Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans, October 14, 2018 at NRG Stadium. Photo by Bill Wippert

1. Advice for Wild Card week from a 2017 playoff participant

Everyone talks about how the speed of the game ramps up from the preseason to the regular season, that's a definite and it's even faster in the playoffs. Once you're in the postseason guys are playing at a different level and extremely hard. Especially being an offensive lineman, you're always at the mercy of how hard the defensive line is going to play. When we went down to Jacksonville in 2017, it was a really intense environment, those fans were louder than I had ever heard them. Bills players can get ready for a similar environment in Houston.

There's a ton of younger players on this team who are playing a lot of snaps and haven't been in a playoff environment yet. Someone like Josh Allen needs to stick to his process and do what he's always done to prepare for a game, don't make it bigger than it should be. Allen has played a lot of quality games in his two years, including some big primetime games this season. A Sunday night football game like the Bills played in against the Steelers, with what Pittsburgh had on the line, is a pretty similar atmosphere to the first round of the playoffs.

2. Initial thoughts on Houston-Buffalo matchup

When I look at the strengths of both teams, I think this is going to be a great game for the Bills. Houston has the 13th ranked offense with a strong passing attack averaging 236.4 passing yards a game. Thankfully, Buffalo has a great pass defense. They are the fourth best in the league, allowing only 195.2 passing yards a game. The Bills have struggled at times putting up points, hopefully we will see the Bills score a few more touchdowns in the playoffs. Houston's defense favors the Bills because they are 28th and allow 24.1 points a game. Buffalo's point average went down a bit after only scoring six points yesterday, but I would love to see the Bills score 24 plus points against a lower tiered defense. Let's remember, Buffalo has played against a top 10 defense for the last seven straight weeks.

3. Reasons to feel optimistic about Bills offense heading into playoffs

The Bills have only scored over 30 points twice this year, both of those games were wins over the Dolphins. I think a reason why the Bills don't put up that large of a number all the time is because the defense is so solid and can hold opponents to under 20 points regularly. This offense has played against some great defenses, so it makes sense to play more conservative at times.

Come playoffs though, you need a balanced attack on both sides. This offense has more than enough ability to score points when you think about what a season John Brown, Cole Beasley and Devin Singletary have had. They have a top 10 rushing attack and are talented enough to win playoff games. Josh Allen and his weapons have been so close to connecting on more deep balls, 50/50 balls and winning more games. He hit a couple of those against the Patriots and you have to believe more are coming in the playoffs.

4. Players I'm most excited to see in a playoff setting

Instantly when you think about the Buffalo Bills, you think about the defense and a guy like Tre'Davious White or Tremaine Edmunds. These are players that are so young and so talented, it will be fun to see them on a big stage. Like everybody else, I can't wait to see Josh Allen too. We saw what he was able to do against the Dallas Cowboys in a big game on Thanksgiving. When you think about the future, he will likely be the face of the franchise and you want to see how he performs in the playoffs. I'm sure he will have a lot of playoff appearances, but he will be judged a lot off his first one.

5. Around the NFL: Thoughts on the AFC playoff race

The Patriots get to face Tennessee on Wild Card weekend after losing to the Dolphins, something you don't say too often. Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill has had a great resurgence with his team, Derrick Henry scored three touchdowns yesterday and ran for more than 200 rushing yards. This could be a pretty close game. The last time New England had to play on Wild Card weekend was in 2009 when they lost to the Ravens 33-14. 

You get out of Wild Card weekend and the two rested AFC teams are the Ravens and Chiefs, which also boast two of the best offenses in the league. Baltimore has a great defense ranked third allowing only 17.6 points a game. Kansas City has really improved on defense as of late and now allow less than 20 points a game. If you think about how Buffalo has played with Baltimore and New England during the regular season, I think they can play toe-to-toe with anyone in this league.

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