Sunday, September 28, 2014

Matchup Mashup: Your Bills-Texans primer


Week 4: Buffalo Bills (2-1) at Houston Texans (2-1), 1 p.m.
Location: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
Weather: Sunny, high 80s at kickoff (accuweather)

The skinny: The Buffalo Bills head into Houston for a reunion with Ryan Fitzpatrick, though they'll be rolling into town with a banged up receiving corps and a DB crew looking to rebound from a rough outing last week. Lucky for them, Fitz hasn't quite solved his turnover issues, and a turnaround game could be well within reach. The best revenge from the former team, however, could be at the hands of Fred Jackson, who's currently averaging close to five yards a carry and is going against a defense that's giving up more than 140 yards per game on the ground. Houston's running game, on the other hand, could be down its most valuable player, with Adrian Foster questionable to start as he continues to deal with a hamstring injury.

What to watch for (links):
- Can the Bills produce in the passing game despite a thin wideout group?
- Will Buffalo be able to bump up its intensity level after a disappointing end to last week's game?
- How much will Jackson (and Spiller for that matter) contribute to the team's offense?
- What type of performance will Fitzpatrick put together after throwing three picks last week against the Giants?
- Can the secondary figure out a way to stop the "rub"?

Injury report: Buffalo will be sans its special teams stud, Marcus Easley, as well as wideout Marquise Goodwin and Chris Williams. For Houston, rookie linebacker Jadeveon Clowney and safety Shiloh Keo will sit Sunday, while Foster is a game-time decision and questionable.

Other tidbits from the week:
Mike Williams and Brandon Spikes were fined for a wardrobe malfunction and an alleged headbutt, respectively, this week; penalties an issue through three games for Buffalo; former Clemson receivers will be back on the field together Sunday.

Our picks:
Dan: Bills 22, Texans 17
Nick: Texans 20, Bills 17

Head-to-head recent history: In only six games total, the two teams have split the matchups evenly. Most recently, Buffalo has lost the last two games and has been outscored 52-19. The Texans held the Bills touchdown-less in their last matchup in 2012, while also keeping the Jackson-Spiller rushing duo to only 60 total yards on the ground.

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