Friday Five: What To Watch For As The Bills And Texans Meet In AFC Wild Card Game

Shannon Shepherd

1. Allen Makes Playoff Debut

If the Bills want to win on Saturday, their best bet will be to exploit the Texans struggling defense. 

Following the regular season, Houston finished 28th in team defense, overall.

They gave up an average of 388 yards per game and allowed 24 points per opponent.

Last season when the Bills faced Houston, Allen finished with just 84 yards passing, 20 rushing and was sacked twice. He left the game in the third quarter with an injury to his elbow. 

With a full season now under his belt, Allen will look to exploit a struggling Houston defense with his arm - the Texans allow over 260 yards passing per game.

Yes, the Texans defense will have five-time Pro Bowler J.J. Watt back...more on that in a moment...

2. Stopping Deshaun Watson

The Texans best weapon is quarterback Deshaun Watson who is ranked 13th in the league among all signal callers.

Watson has thrown for 3,852 yards and 26 touchdowns this season. He has eight performances on the year throwing for over 250 yards. His most impressive showing was a 426 yard, five touchdown performance against the Falcons.

Like Allen, Watson also gets it done with his legs - scoring seven rushing touchdowns.

3. Bracing For J.J. Watt's Impact

Earlier this week, Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt was elevated from injured reserve to the active roster. Watt suffered a torn pectoral on October 27th against the Raiders.

It is still unsure how many snaps Watt will play. Earlier this week, Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said he expects to use Watt "quite a bit." And, it can only help Houston to have the three-time defensive player of the year on the field. 

In his seven appearances earlier this season, Watt had 15 tackles and four sacks while the Texans went 5-2.

He also recorded a sack on Allen when the Bills and Texans met last season.

4. Back On The National Stage

The Bills will once again play in a game televised to a national audience.

So far this season, Buffalo has proved the distraction of national chatter hasn't phased them - with wins over the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day and the Steelers on Sunday Night Football.

They did stumble against the Patriots during a week 16 match up that was broadcast by NFL Network.

In those three games, the Bills have outscored their opponents 60-49 and Allen threw four touchdowns to just one interception.

5. Ending 24 Season Playoff Victory Drought

The last time the Bills won a postseason game was 1995 - a 24 season span that ranks third worst in the NFL.

Since then, the Bills have only made four playoff appearances - most recently with a loss in 2017 to Jaguars.

A win in Houston would continue the growth under owners Terry and Kim Pegula as the Bills embark on a new decade.

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