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Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Texans Week 4 game preview

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© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

 

After a tough opening loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, just two weeks later and the Buffalo Bills are 2-1 after dominating their previous opponents by a score of 78-21. By facing two playoff teams from 2020 and another that won 10 games, the Bills have emerged as division leaders in the AFC East. Not a bad time to be a football fan in New York.

 

Entering the Miami and Washington contests, it appeared both teams had strong defenses coming into the game. Allowing Buffalo to score 35 and 43 points suggests otherwise. Some even began to question whether Josh Allen was in for a season of regression.

 

Throwing in the Buffalo wind, Allen racked up 358 passing yards against what was supposed to be one of the best pass-rushing units in the NFL in Week 3. He also made his mark in the history books by becoming the fifth-quickest to score 100 touchdowns in the NFL.

 

Now, the Herd gets to face a Houston Texans team that truly has no identity. If you thought playing a squad named the Football Team was terrible, well, this Texans squad would embrace hearing someone refer to them as a football team because their play this season has resembled anything but.

Buffalo Bills Week 4 game details, where to watch

  • Sunday, October 3, 2021
  • Start time: 1:00 PM ET
  • TV channel - CBS
  • Location - Highmark Stadium at 1 Bills Dr in Orchard Park, NY

 

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© Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

What happened last time the Bills played the Houston Texans?

Bills 19

Texans 22

 

As the newest franchise, the NFL has, the Houston Texans have only been around since 2002. Since they have only existed for less than 20 years, the Bills have only played them ten times. 

 

The last time these two squared off came in the 2019 Wild Card playoff game in which the Texans squeaked out a three-point overtime victory. No need to be concerned, Deshaun Watson was by far their best player back then, and he will not be suiting up on Sunday. 

 

A few of the other greats the Texans had at the time, DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt, have ironically both since landed with the Arizona Cardinals. Needless to say, this Texans team that somehow managed to beat the Bills just two years ago is an entirely different team now.

 

The entire organization has pretty much changed from top to bottom, and they are in the very beginning stages of a complete rebuild. Not only that, one of their best, most experienced veterans, quarterback Tyrod Taylor will miss the game with a hamstring injury.

 

This sets up the Bills to face yet another young, unproven player in the third-round rookie giraffe, er quarterback Davis Mills. While the inexperienced signal-caller couldn’t generate big plays, he showed an ability to get the ball out quickly in Week 3. Still, the Bills defense has another chance for a dominant game with Mills under center and few other offensive weapons.

 

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© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Matchups to watch

  • Matt Milano vs. Texans running back trio

Here is one of those cases where having recognizable names doesn’t mean anything. The Texans have three different running backs in their backfield who have been named to the Pro Bowl. However, Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay, and David Johnson’s best days are all behind them. With their speed escaping them more and more every year, there’s not much to fear here.

 

Linebacker Matt Milano has enjoyed a scalding-hot start to his season and is in the midst of a career year. Even the analytics-based Pro Football Focus has Milano as the highest-graded linebacker in the NFL through Week 3 at 89.8. This is coming from a source that thought GM Brandon Beane should have spent the money to re-sign Milano elsewhere.

 

This isn’t even a matchup to watch. The Bills defense is going to continue shutting down their opponents’ ground attack. Through three games, the defense has allowed just 224 rushing yards, good for seventh-fewest in the NFL. The Texans have averaged just 3.3 yards per carry, tied for the second-worst mark in the NFL. 

 

We’ll see how quickly the Texans abandon their running game, but a pass-heavy approach could lead to more turnovers with a rookie quarterback. It’s a win-win situation for the Bills.

 

  • Buffalo DBs vs. Brandin Cooks

It seems the Bills have had to deal with a world-class speedster in each of their matchups this season, except for maybe the Steelers game. While scheming against Jaylen Waddle and Terry McLaurin went well, Brandin Cooks may be the best player on the Houston sideline to touch the ball on Sunday. He’s also much more experienced than the other fast receivers the Bills have faced.

 

In five of his eight NFL seasons, Cooks has racked up over 1,000 receiving yards. The odd part is that Cooks has played on four different teams and traded for a first-round pick twice. Basically, it doesn’t matter who’s throwing the 5-foot-10 receiver the ball. He’s still going to produce. 

 

While Cooks presents a threat to score in a flash, the Bills have shown an ability to limit even the fastest receivers in the NFL. Aside from one bad playoff game, even Tyreek Hill hasn’t had much success in his regular-season career against Leslie Frazier’s defensive units. 

 

Dealing with Cooks shouldn’t cause too many headaches since no other Texans player has even more than 67 receiving yards this season compared to the 322 yards Cooks has. Double or even triple him. Just don’t let him get behind the safeties.

 

  • Bills rushing offense vs. Texans defense

It may be a bit of a surprise to see Buffalo’s rushing attack being pointed out as an area of strength coming into a game, but that’s precisely where we are. Some of that has to do with who the Bills have coming to town on Sunday, but not entirely.

 

A unit that’s as bad as their offense, the Texans have allowed 26 rushing first downs this season, tied for the third-most in the league. With Josh Allen, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll can dial up just about any call he wants against the Texans’ defense. With Stefon Diggs always presenting a threat and Emmanuel Sanders breaking out for two touchdowns in Week 3, the Bills offense is as potent as ever. 

 

Their effectiveness is not limited to the passing game. However, the Bills also have a three-headed monster of their own, with Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, and Josh Allen. As this game is expected to be an early blowout, maybe even Matt Breida makes his way back onto the active roster as he did in Week 1.

 

Bonus stat: Would it shock you to learn the Bills have the seventh-most rushing yards this season? Led by Singletary’s 180 rushing yards, the Bills have 382 total rushing yards as a team. With his 26th career rushing touchdown last Sunday, Allen became the Bills’ all-time leader for rushing touchdowns by a Buffalo quarterback.

 

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© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills Week 4 game prediction

  • Last season’s record: Buffalo Bills 13-3, reached AFC Conference Championship
  • Houston Texans 4-12, third place in AFC South

 

Several betting sportsbooks currently have the Bills favored to win by as much as 16 ½ points, which is the most Buffalo has been favored by heading into a game this season for the second consecutive week. And just like last week, the Texans are starting their backup quarterback, only this time it’s a rookie.

 

Not only are they trusting a rookie to lead the charge against the Herd, the Texans roster just isn’t very good by NFL standards. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still comprised of 53 players who are on an NFL roster, which doesn’t come easily. They’re all professionals, but the Bills are a finely-tuned machine that has been playing really good football the past two weeks.

 

There’s always the possibility for an upset, Any Given Sunday still stands, but this game still feels incredibly out of reach for the Texans to actually come away with a win. Heck, Mitchell Trubisky could probably start this one and still lead this Herd to 30 points and a win. 

 

Fill the stadium up again, cheer your loudest, whether from your couch or elsewhere, and Bills Fans should all have another happy Sunday.

 

Game prediction: 42-10 Bills victory

 

BillsFans.com - Andrew Buller-Russ 

 

 

 

Related:

Josh Allen’s Big Day Sparks Bills 43-21 Victory Over Washington

Buffalo Bills vs. Washington Football Team 9/26/2021- A Few Thoughts, in no particular order

Bills Roll Over WFT

 

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