Top 3 Individual Matchups
1 – Jerry Hughes vs. Julie’n Davenport
The veteran pass rusher will be in his native Texas this week to square off against a first-year starter in Davenport, who has struggled at times this season.
2 - Jordan Mills vs. J.J. Watt
Mills won’t be the only one to draw this assignment as Watt will move inside at times on obvious passing downs, which would put him in John Miller’s crosshairs. Either way Watt looks to be back to his Defensive Player of the Year form.
3 – Tre’Davious White vs. DeAndre Hopkins
A battle between a premier receiver and a premier cornerback will be the most interesting in the game. White is expected to shadow Hopkins wherever he goes on the field. Hopkins already has almost 600 yards receiving in five games to lead the league (594).
Top 2 Bills Advantages
Good advantage – 3 & outs
Although Buffalo sits in the middle of the pack in their ability to force three-and-outs (14th), they’ve been more effective at getting off the field than the Houston defense. The Bills defense is off the field after three plays more than 20 percent of the time.
Best advantage – Takeaway ability
The Bills defense has been on a tear the last two weeks when it comes to taking the ball away logging five in the last two games. Buffalo opponents already have 16 fumbles on the season, and the Bills nine takeaways are already good for third-best in the AFC.
Bills Number 1 Must
Get to Watson
The Texans offensive line has struggled to keep DeShaun Watson clean. It’s why he’s not 100 percent healthy coming into this Sunday’s game (see below). While the Houston QB has taken a good number of his hits on scrambles, he’s also been sacked a good deal. Houston’s pass blocking efficiency is near the bottom of the league according to Pro Football Focus (29th). Buffalo’s four-man front has to contain Watson first and get hits on him second to keep Houston’s point total to a minimum.
Watson nicked up
Texans QB DeShaun Watson took some shots when he took off to run on Sunday Night football against the Cowboys. Laboring on the sidelines for a short time with his breathing and having a team doctor check the back of his rib cage with a stethoscope has led to speculation of everything from a rib injury to a lung injury. The team has only disclosed that Watson is day to day with a chest injury. He was limited in practice this week.
Airing it out
Injury aside, Watson has picked up where he left off last season when his 2017 campaign was cut short by a season-ending knee injury. The Texans QB has thrown for over 300 yards in each of his last four starts, including back-to-back 375-yard passing days in overtime. Watson is the only player in NFL history with 1,500+ pass yards and 200+ rush yards in 1st 5 games of season. Houston throws the ball just over 59 percent of the time.
Pass pro issues
All that throwing however, has led to Watson taking hits that have not come solely from scrambling. In five games the Texans QB has been taken down behind the line of scrimmage 18 times. He's also endured 54 quarterback hits in just five games, for an average of almost 11 per game. Houston ranks 27th in the league in sacks per play.
Red zone stallings
The Texans offense has had no problems moving the football this season. They run the ball well and they pass the ball well, until they reach their opponent’s 20-yard line. Houston ranks 31st in the league in red zone touchdown percentage, scoring just a shade over 36 percent of the time (36.4%) with only eight touchdowns on 22 red zone possessions.
The problem is their lack of success moving the ball once inside the 20. Their successful play percentage inside the red zone also ranks 31st in the league as they are successful on a red zone play less than 35 percent of the time (24 for 69).
Banged up secondary
Houston’s secondary has been bitten by the injury bug hard this season. Already without starting CB Kevin Johnson for the season, due to back-to-back concussions in the preseason, the Texans have also been without starting CB Aaron Colvin due to a serious ankle injury suffered in Week 4. He didn’t practice at the start of the week.
They just got CB Kayvon Webster back from an Achilles injury that cost him a good portion of last season and he sustained a quad injury this past Sunday and was placed on injured reserve.
Kareem Jackson, who transitioned to safety this season, has been forced to return to play cornerback. Houston has veterans Johnathan Joseph and Shareece Wright in reserve, but they too are working through injuries and have been limited in practice.
Quote of the week
“You certainly see guys getting hits on Watson, especially Sunday night, but he’s still a fast athletic quarterback who is able to defeat the rush and keep his eyes downfield for that big play. It’s a very tough task because you have a guy who is very mobile, but is still aware enough to find the open receivers. He does a great job of that. For us it’s going to be how can we corral him and keep pressure on him all game.”
--DE Jerry Hughes
Stat of the week
Matt Milano leads the NFL in defensive fumble recoveries with three.
Milestones in reach
Chris Ivory needs 24 rushing yards for 5,000 in his career.
Taron Johnson needs an interception or forced fumble to become the first rookie Bills defender to force a turnover in three consecutive games since Kiko Alonso forced a turnover in four consecutive games in 2013 (Weeks 1-4).
LeSean McCoy needs 58 receiving yards for 3,500 career receiving yards, and would join Darren Sproles and Frank Gore as the only active RBs with 3,500+ career receiving yards.
In three career games against Houston, LeSean McCoy averages more than 120 yards from scrimmage (121.7).
Throwback Thursday: Bills vs. Texans Through the Years
The Buffalo Bills will travel to Houston Week 6 to take on the Texans. In anticipation of the matchup, we take a look at the opponents through the years.