The Texans head to Buffalo this Sunday looking to extend the only winning streak they have had this season, and they'll need to run to do it.
If the Texans can establish the run, and stop the Bills rushing attack, it will go a long way to helping them win this weekend. Here are few reasons why they can, and will need to, run the ball effectively:
1. The Bills pass defense – The Bills have the 10th ranked pass defense in the NFL. They only give up about 190 yards per game through the air. They have legitimate stars in Terrance McGee and Donte Whitner, as well as some rookies who are playing great. The Bills are also tied for the league lead in interceptions, with 13.
2. The weather – Sunday's forecast at Ralph Wilson stadium is calling for temperatures in the 30's and swirling winds. This could limit what the Texans do through the air. Coach Kubiak has said in his experience Buffalo has been a place where you can only throw during the two quarters the wind is at your back. Houston will rely heavily on Steve Slaton and the other runners during the times they can't throw.
3. The Bills run defense – The Bills rank dead last in the league in run defense. They give up over 172 yards a game and 5.2 yards per carry to opposing runners. Steve Slaton should have no trouble getting on track against the Bills.
4. The Texans pass offense – They have been among the league's best all season, in fact Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson currently lead the league in passing and receiving yards, respectively, but they could be somewhat hampered this week. On top of the weather and the Bills good pass defense, the Texans may limited by some injury. Johnson is coming back from a lung contusion that had him coughing blood last week. The coaches say he is totally “ready to go” but we'll have to wait and see on Sunday. If he can't go the Texans will rely on Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones at wide receiver and will probably lean a lot on tight end Owen Daniels.
The Texans will also need to limit turnovers. The Bills defense is among the best in the NFL in causing turnovers, and it has made a big difference for them. The Bills have won only three games this year. In two of those games they gave up over 400 yards of offense to the opposing team, against the Jets and the Panthers, but they won the games because they won the turnover battle.
Houston should be able to handle the Bills offense. Buffalo is starting Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback. The last time Fitzpatrick played against the Texans, last year when he was a Cincinnati Bengal, he threw for only 155 yards, threw two picks, fumbled once, and was sacked twice. The Texans won that game easily, 35-6. Terrell Owens, who has been on the decline in recent years, has really been a non-factor in the Bills offense this year. The Bills' only legit threat on offense is Marshawn Lynch running the ball. Houston should be able to focus on him and keep him contained.
Prediction: Steve Slaton earns his game check as he runs wild on the Bills. The Texans limit turnovers and win a grinding ground battle, 28-10.
About the Author
Written by Gabriel Rodriguez
Born in Germany, early childhood in NYC, raised in the D.C. area, currently reside in Charlottesville, VA. Big fan of the NY Giants and San Antonio Spurs.