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Houston Hosts Buffalo in Week 4 Showdown

Written by Jeff Allen of Jeff Allen Sports

If it weren’t for last Sunday, week four could have been headlined by two undefeated teams facing off in a battle to see which team wants to remain on a winning streak. Unfortunately, both the Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills lost in week three, but will hope to bounce back with a win on Sunday when these two teams face off in Houston. These teams are very similar in more ways than their records, sharing similar quarterback situations, defensive strengths and young head coaches. The Texans are the favorite in this contest (-3, with a total of 41) but Buffalo has shown to be a tough opponent on multiple occasions so far this season. Will Houston’s home crowd propel the Texans to victory or will the Bills circle the wagons and pull the upset this weekend?

What Happened Last Week?

Both of these teams would probably like to forget what happened during week three, especially the Houston Texans (2-1 straight up, 2-1 against the spread). After winning their first two games, the Texans were trounced by the winless New York Giants, 30-17. Giving up 176 yards rushing and a TD to RB Rashad Jennings helped seal the game for the Giants, who jumped ahead in the second quarter and never lost control of the game. The Texans will have to stop the run more effectively this week, considering the bruising backs coming to town.

San Diego got off to a quick start last week against Buffalo (2-1 straight up, 2-1 against the spread) and never looked back, defeating the Bills, 22-10. Buffalo had problems moving the ball all game, while QB Philip Rivers threw for 256 yards and 2 TDs on only 25 pass attempts. Bills QB EJ Manuel had his best statistical game of the year so far, throwing for 238 yards, 1 TD and no picks. Unfortunately, his efforts went unnoticed as the Chargers were able to keep the speedy Manuel in check. If Manuel can keep the ball out of the hands of a hungry Texans defense, the Bills could walk out of Texas with a W.

Matchup to Watch

After what some in the industry would call a train wreck of a performance last week, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will look to avenge his three interception performance against a Bills secondary that has had problems stopping the pass this season. Buffalo is averaging 267.3 yards per game through the air, which means that we’ll likely see WR DeAndre Hopkins number called early and often. Look for the Texans to pass the ball easily this week, racking up at least 2 TD passes for the former Harvard gunslinger.

If Houston had a tough time against Jennings last week, it will be interesting to see how they stand against the dual threat of RBs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. The dynamic duo has been hot and cold up to this point in the year, but are poised to break out for a big game. With first overall draft pick DE Jadeveon Clowney still out of action, look for Buffalo’s backs to tear up the turf on Sunday, each notching at least 70 yards and a score.

X Factor

With Clowney out for the Texans, it will be up to DE J.J. Watt to amp up the pressure and make life miserable for Manuel and the Bills offense. Watt has been playing like a man possessed so far this season, bolstering Houston’s defensive line and notching two sacks so far this season. If the Texans are going to win this game, they will need a monster performance from #99. Watt should have no problems causing havoc on the D line in this contest, look for the former Wisconsin standout to hit Manuel hard to the tune of at least one sack on Sunday.

Buffalo has been stellar against opposing rush offenses this season, allowing the 6th fewest yards to runners and averaging 83.7 rushing yards per game. With Texans RB Arian Foster nursing a hamstring injury, Houston could be in trouble on the ground in this game. Watch for the Bills to once again contain the run, holding the Texans to under 100 yards rushing on the day.

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