Week 9: Buffalo Bills At Houston Texans
- QuarterbacksThe Bills get reasonably decent play from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick most games. He is completing 61.9 percent of his passes and he has a 15-to-9 TD-to-interception ratio. That’s not bad, but it’s not stellar. While Fitzpatrick has good tools to work with, you don’t have a lot of confidence when he has the ball in clutch situations.Matt Schaub is not a spectacular quarterback, but he is a first-rate leader who is capable of making all the throws. He understands that he plays on a balanced team that is capable of winning with offense, defense and special teams. He knows he doesn’t have to do everything himself and his leadership and accuracy make him an ideal quarterback for head coach Gary Kubiak.
- OffenseThe Bills have options on offense. Start with the running game, which is a lot more than explosive. C.J. Spiller has rushed for 523 yards and he is averaging 7.3 yards per carry. Fred Jackson can also carry the load for the Bills from the running back slot. Wide receiver Stevie Johnson can make big plays and carry his team, but he will also have some frustrating drops.Arian Foster is a solid and consistent all-around professional who can carry the ball with power and speed. He is also a fine receiver. Andre Johnson is the Texans’ best big-play receiver, and he has caught 34-444-2 heading into Week Nine. He should put better numbers on the board in the second half of the season. Tight end Owen Daniels is going to catch anything he can touch.
- DefenseThe Bills have not gotten the job done on the defensive end. They have gotten scorched regularly and the Bills are ranked 31st in total defense and dead last against the run. The Bills thought the acquisition of defensive end Mario Williams would help them pressure opposing quarterbacks, but Buffalo has only gotten 3.5 sacks from him heading into Week Eight.The Texans are a stellar defensive team. Their best player is J.J. Watt, who has been a defensive player of the year candidate. He already has 9.5 sacks and is regularly tipping and deflecting passes when he is not trapping the quarterback. The Texans are very difficult to run against, allowing just 84.0 yards per game.
- Special TeamsThe Bills have not had many field goal opportunities this season. Rian Lindell has only had five field goal attempts – he has made all of them – but the Bills have often been forced to play from far behind and that takes field goals out of the equation. Punter Shawn Powell is just average when it comes to distance.Shayne Graham has become a very dependable weapon, making all but one of his 15 FG attempts. Donnie Jones is a slightly above average punter. The Texans have given up both a punt and a kickoff return for a touchdown this season.
The Texans believe they have the kind of all-around strength that should allow them to command the top seed in the AFC playoffs this year. If they are as strong as Kubiak and their fans think they are, they should be able to handle a home game against the porous Bills with little trouble.