5 days ago
Last week at home against Tennessee, the much-maligned Buffalo Bills were expected to roll over and die for a Titans team that was coming in riding a three-game win streak with two of the victories coming against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles.
To their credit, the Bills were able to turn the tables on the defensive-minded Titans and forced three turnovers before winning the game 13-12 on a last-second field goal.
Ten-point underdogs on the road this week in Houston, the Bills will once again have to win the turnover battle if they are to have any chance of extending their win streak to two by beating the Texans.
While it’s possible that will happen with Deshaun Watson under center for Houston as he’s been good for at least one turnover in every game this season, the Bills will need to limit the chances they take with their rookie quarterback Josh Allen.
That won’t be hard for Buffalo to do as the team has largely opted to keep the ball out of Allen’s hands and the Bills’ 609 net passing yards through five games of a season are the fewest since the 2008 Raiders.
What they’ve tried to do instead is use veteran running back LeSean McCoy to move the ball on the ground and, after struggling to do that for much of the year, the Bills finally succeeded as he had 26 touches last week after having 29 over his first three games.
While they likely won’t be able to do that quite as frequently against the Titans – Houston just held star runner Ezekiel Elliott to the third-lowest rushing performance he’s had in his career on Sunday night – Buffalo’s offense will likely go as far as McCoy, not Allen, takes it.
At least that’s how handicapper Dave Michaels of SportsInformationTraders sees it.
“The Bills will certainly be in ground-and-pound mode with McCoy, who is poised to have a big second half of the season,” Allen told RealClearLife. “Josh Allen will not be asked to do much, and the Bills offense – which is last in a few categories – is not able to do much anyway.”
Still, getting 10 points on the road (and 11 in some places), Michaels likes Buffalo.
“The value here is with the Bills, who match up well and will hang around in this one against an uneven Texans team that will struggle to move the chains consistently,” he said.
One of his reasons is that Bills shutdown cornerback Tre’davious White should be able to slow down DeAndre Hopkins, who is Watson’s favorite target by far.
The other has to do with Texans franchise overall. “This is the first time the Texans are double-digit favorites,” Michaels said. “They also come in 1-9 in their last 10 games against the spread.”
After taking the Titans to win by more than 4.5 last week, Michaels is now 2-2-1 with his picks as Tennessee turned in a disappointing performance on the road in Buffalo and fell to the Bills 13-12.