Weekly Feature

2018-10-10 / Sports

Bee staffers like Houston’s chances at home

Bills predictions

It wasn’t pretty, but the Bills pulled out a win over the Tennessee Titans in week five. The defense shined and was opportunistic in forcing turnovers while the running game led the offense to enough points to get the win.

This week, the team will travel to Houston to take on the pedestrian Texans. They’ll be taking on a team that has mostly been the exact opposite as themselves this year.

Houston has been strong on offense, led by the resurgence of young quarterback Deshaun Watson. But the Houston defense has been leaky through the first five weeks. Will the Bills’ offense finally break out with its first 300-yard game of the season? Will the defense stand firm against a hot Texans’ offense?

• The biggest takeaway from the past three weeks should be that the Bills have a solid defense, capable of keeping the team in games against any questionable offense. Guys like Aaron Rodgers and Phillip Rivers might be too much, but offenses as static as the Titans can be handled.

So, where do the Deshaun Watson-led Texans fit in there? Considering the Bills are on the road and Watson appears to be finding his legs again, it should be a tough challenge. Meanwhile, Josh Allen finished under 5 yards attempt for the second consecutive game. That is not going to be enough to win almost any games.

I wouldn’t expect a win, but the defense is too good to expect a blowout. — Houston 23, Buffalo 14 Taylor Nigrelli, Sports Reporter

• The only way the Bills win games is if they play like teams did 20 years ago— play great defense, create turnovers and run the football.

It’s what got them into the playoffs last year, and it seems to be the only winning formula this year.

The problem is when you play football like this, it leaves the margin of error so small that the slightest of errors can cost you a game.

That is why it so hard to pick them to win any game, because you just don’t know which team is going to show up.

I am not surprised that the Bills beat Tennessee because the Titans were coming off a win against the world champions and were due for a letdown.

Houston is really not a good team at all, but neither are the Bills. This should be another ugly game to watch. — Houston 19, Buffalo 10 Patrick Nagy, Sports Reporter

• So what can we glean from Buffalo’s performances through the first five weeks of the season?

The defense is good enough to give the team a chance to win. The offense is bad enough to throw away that chance. The run first, run often approach — already a relic in the era of pass-happy systems — isn’t going to do Buffalo any favors when it leads to a combined effort of under 100 yards a game on a good day. And Josh Allen isn’t afraid to put his body on the line if he thinks it’ll benefit his club.

Suffice it to say, until Allen gets a few more dependable, consistent weapons so that the offense’s production isn’t virtually completely on his shoulders every week, the Bills will remain on the path to finish below .500, and not just by one game. It’s too much to ask for any rookie quarterback to play at an all-pro level when the players making up his receiving corps wouldn’t even make the practice squad on most other NFL teams, and the supposed star of the offense, LeSean McCoy, can boast of an 85-yard day as his best of four outings to date. — Houston 20, Buffalo 10. Jason Nadolinski, Sports Reporter

• The scoreboard. That’s all that matters.

This could certainly be the new rallying cry for the Buffalo Bills as they squeaked out a 13-12 win over the Tennessee Titans at home.

The offense was not great, but they put kicker Steven Hauschka in the right position to nail a walkoff 46-yard field goal.

The Bills were paced by timely turnovers, consistent defense and Hauschka’s right foot.

While the Bills won’t be saving the tape to show at a Christmas party, the team stands at 2-3 and has a winnable contest on the road against the Houston Texans, another team who seemingly can’t get out of their own way.

If the Bills can use some of the same principles from the Titans’ win — sound defense and turnovers — an upset in Texas isn’t out of the question. The key is to making life difficult for quarterback Deshaun Watson. As Watson goes, the Texans go.

Last week proved the Bills don’t mind winning ugly. Maybe that’s a sign of things to come. — Buffalo 17, Houston 14 Chris Graham, Orchard Park Editor

• With another three takeaways in their 13-12 win against Tennessee, the Bills have now forced nine turnovers through their first five games, which is tied for No. 7 in the league. Forcing mistakes allowed the Bills to blitz Minnesota in week three and kept Buffalo in the game long enough to squeak out the win last week behind solid rushing performances by LeSean McCoy (85 yards on 24 carries) and Chris Ivory (43 yards on 14 carries). The ball-hawking defense has also helped make up for the eight times the Bills have turned the ball over on offense.

In the upcoming week, Buffalo will need to create scoring opportunities with its defense and disrupt Texans’ QB Deshaun Watson, who looks to be rounding back into form with four straight 300-yard passing performances.

Both teams have lacked consistency, but Buffalo's peaks and valleys have been downright extreme. The Bills defense can't force turnovers against an improving Watson eager to remind the league why he generated so much excitement last year before his injury, and Buffalo's offense continues to sputter when forced to put drives together. — Hous- ton 34, Buffalo 13 Bryan Jackson, Cheektowaga Editor

• The Bills’ defense led the way in a defensive struggle against Tennessee. The Bills now go back on the road to face the Houston Texans in another game that could be decided by less than a score.

The offense will definitely need to score more than 13 points to win this time. However, Houston is the more talented team, and I expect them to win by less than a touchdown. Even after a win, Bills’ fans should focus on the development of Josh Allen. — Houston 20, Buffalo 16 Nick Konotopskyj, Reporter


Nick Konotopskyj 4-1

Taylor Nigrelli 3-2

Patrick Nagy 3-2

Jason Nadolinski 3-2

Chris Graham 3-2

Bryan Jackson 3-2

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