Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Texans Week 5 Pick
Buffalo Bills (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (2-3 SU, 1-4 ATS)
When: October 14, 2018, 1:00 PM EST
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
By: Rick Wise
Point Spread: BUF +10/HOU -10 (Opened at 10)
Power Ratings: Texans -10
Takeaways From Week 5
The Bills didn’t do very much of anything on offense but they managed to stifle Marcus Mariota, keeping him to 14-of-26 for 129 yards and 1 INT, and escaped with a 13-12 win as time expired. Rookie quarterback Josh Allen never got it going through the air, finishing just 10-of-19 for 82 yards, and 1 interception but he once again impressed with his legs. Allen carried 4 times for 19 yards, with the highlight a 14-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
The Buffalo offensive line deserves a lot of credit here. Coming into the game, they led the NFL in sacks allowed with 21. Against a stout Tennessee front four, the Bills conceded just one sack and opened enough holes for LeSean McCoy to average 3.5 yards a carry en route to a solid 85-yards rushing on 24 carries.
The Texans, meanwhile, probably shouldn’t have walked away with a 19-16 overtime victory over the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night. Usually, when you blow multiple chances at winning a game, you end up losing it. Luckily for Houston, the Cowboys whiffed on just as many opportunities.
The red zone woes continued for the Texans against Dallas. After getting inside the Cowboys’ 20-yard line six times, they finally got across the goal line in the second quarter. So, in their 22 times reaching the red zone this season, Houston has scored just eight touchdowns. That’s bad enough to earn them the league’s second–worst red zone percentage (36.4). Only the New York Jets (36.7) can say their even worse in that regard.
There’s very little history between these two sides. They’ve met just eight times, dating back to 2002 and the series is tied 4-4. While Buffalo won the last meeting in 2015, the Texans have had the upper hand as of late, winning three of the last four dating back to 2009.
For the Bills, listed as questionable for Sunday’s game are S Rafael Bush (shoulder), S Michael Hyde (groin), and P Corey Bojorquez (shoulder).
For the Texans, upgraded to probable for Sunday’s game is RB Lamar Miller (chest). Listed as questionable for Sunday are CB Kayvon Webster (quad), LB Brian Peters (ankle), and WR Bruce Ellington (hamstring).
When the Bills Have the Ball
In Buffalo’s three lopsided losses this season (Ravens, Chargers, Packers), Josh Allen played like a rookie without a clue. In turn, the offense looked pathetic. In the Bills’ two wins, Allen looked a little more comfortable. The difference was simply that the Buffalo ground game did enough to move the chains, thus taking the pressure off Allen. It’ll be tough sledding against the 14th-ranked Texans defense, but if Buffalo has any chance at all, it will need to employ a run-heavy gameplan similar to the one against the Titans: 43 runs to just 20 passes. For the second straight week, you can expect at least 20 carries from LeSean McCoy.
When the Texans Have the Ball
Deshaun Watson has yet to show a shred of evidence that he’s coming off an ACL tear. He appears just as quick and elusive as he ever was. He leads all NFL quarterbacks with 201 rushing yards and he’s ranked 10th in the league in total QBR, having passed for 1,621 yards and 8 touchdowns. Needless to say, Houston’s success hinges almost entirely on Watson’s. That said, head coach Bill O’Brien won’t need to dial up anything special against the Bills. Watson’s got his favorite target and the league’s leading receiver in DeAndre Hopkins just now hitting his stride, which should provide an ailing Bills secondary with serious matchup problems. The return of Lamar Miller from a chest injury will also give the ground game a boost.
- Buffalo is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Buffalo’s last 7 games
- Buffalo is 8-13-3 ATS in its last 24 games on the road
- Buffalo is 4-10 SU in its last 14 games on the road
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Buffalo’s last 5 games on the road
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Buffalo’s last 7 games when playing Houston
- Houston is 1-9 ATS in its last 10 games
- Houston is 2-9 SU in its last 11 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Houston’s last 7 games
- Houston is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games at home
- Houston is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games at home
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Houston’s last 6 games at home
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Houston’s last 7 games when playing Buffalo
Much of the country is experiencing warmer than usual weather but it’s gonna be downright hot for this one. Temps are expected to hit 85 degrees under mostly cloudy skies with 60 percent humidity and 7 mph winds.
Rick Wise’s Pick
Ten points is a boatload to cover, especially considering the Bills own the NFL’s 7th-ranked total defense. It’ll be strength against strength, though, as Watson and company bring the league’s No. 3 offense. Conventional wisdom says take the points and run but it probably wouldn’t be too wise to pick against Watson and an offense that’s ripe to explode. Plus it’s a home game. The Texans cover.