1.5 unit (bet/released Tuesday)
I think it’s easy to look at this game as Deshaun Watson vs Josh Allen but the game should be decided by both defenses. Buffalo’s defensive line has been better than Houston’s offensive line all year. Four games really stand out that show Houston’s weaknesses – Watson was sacked 6 times in a loss at home to the Panthers, sacked 4 times in a 13-12 win vs the Jaguars, sacked 5 times vs the Bucs in a 23-20 win when the Bucs had 5 turnovers, and sacked 3 times vs the Broncos in a double digit loss. Watson threw for less than 6 yards per attempt in all of those games and in two other home wins vs non playoff teams (Raiders and Colts) the Texans only won by 3 in each. Will Fuller being out affects the offense and Tre”Davious White is good enough to make things harder on Hopkins.
Josh Allen may be starting his first playoff game but Houston’s defense was barely impressive all season – they struggled in short pass defense and they had the worst redzone defense in the NFL, giving up touchdowns on 71% of trips. They also had the second to worst third down defense in the league. Allen won’t have it easy but he can make a few plays with his legs and he played well in a tough spot at Foxborough in primetime a few weeks ago. JJ Watt is playing but he also played in losses to Carolina and at Indianapolis and in the games the Texans struggled to pull away from Jacksonville and Oakland.
Better defense, coach, and offensive line. These two teams played last year in Houston and the Bills were winning before Josh Allen got hurt and Nathan Peterman had to come in. It was a 20-13 win that Houston squeaked out after a Peterman turnover. This is a one score game and points won’t be easy to come by.