First and Five: Houston Texans
First and Five: Houston Texans
The anticipated game of old team versus new team, Mario Williams, makes his debut into Houston for his first time since signing with the Buffalo Bills. This week, Mario went on record saying that he never wanted to leave Houston and that fans shouldn’t be mad that he left because it basically was his only option. He went on to say that he was shown the door and that leaving the Houston Texans was not what he wanted. Maybe he thinks he will get a standing ovation this week for his comments, but that won’t be the case as many fans were happy to see him leave. Bills fans are also getting a taste of the newly signed $100 million man as he has failed to live up to expectations thus far. During the bye week, Williams underwent a procedure on his wrist that hopefully will help him to get back into the game of football and make a difference.
Buffalo also goes up against former head coach, Wade Phillips, who also is looking for revenge as he himself was shown the door by owner, Ralph Wilson Jr. and the fans of Buffalo. Now with a third ranked defense in the NFL and a team close to making its first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, it looks like he could be the one laughing his way to the big game.
The pressure is also on Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, as GM Buddy Nix went on the radio this week and announced that he will put a franchise quarterback in place before he leaves the game for good. What he did not say is that this quarterback was Fitzpatrick. Fitz is officially on the hot seat as he knows it is very well his last season in Buffalo and potentially his last starting position in the NFL. A lot is on the line for Buffalo this week. Hopefully they can catch a strong and powerful Texans team on a bad week, otherwise it will be a long day for Buffalo. Read on to see what the Bills will need to do in order to stand a chance this week.
1- Stop Arian Foster and the run game
Arian Foster is having one of his best seasons thus far and is really helping this offense win and win big. The Texans game plan will be to run early and run a lot, and why wouldn’t it be? The Bills run defense has allowed 1238 yards rushing, worst in the league, 937 of those in the last four games. The Bills must be able to stop Foster if they want to have any chance of winning this game, or even putting up a fight in it. Foster has rushed for 659 yards already this season and has scored 9 touchdowns to help the Texans land at 6-1. The Texans only loss this season came against the Green Bay Packers, where Foster was only able to run for a total of 29 yards, showing that it is possible to stop him and also possibly finding a weak spot in the Texans offense.
2- Mario Williams has to show up
The pressure is on and if there is anything that can motivate this guy, maybe it is going against your former team, in your former house. There will be bad blood and a lot of boos when his name is called and if he says this is just another game, he is lying. Mario Williams underwent a wrist procedure this past week during the extended bye week and is hoping to put his lackluster start behind him. What better way to get back into being a difference maker than by stopping the Texans offense in its tracks.
Williams said that his wrist is feeling much better since the procedure and we can only hope that it is. He was limited in practice most of the week, but with all the potential criticism he would get, I fully expect him to be out there playing on Sunday. The former first round pick for the Texans has only 3.5 sacks so far this season and needs to rack on a couple more in this game to satisfy Bills fans.
3- Keep the offensive line healthy
This week will be the debut of Cordy Glenn and Kraig Urbik since both coming out due to injuries that left them off the field for a couple weeks. One of the bright spots of this team, the offensive line has given quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick a lot of time to make plays and have only allowed eight sacks, which is a respectable number since the line has been shuffling around for the past three weeks. This week they will be going up against the man who has taken over for Mario, J.J. Watts who leads the NFL in sacks with 9.5. That makes Bills fan cringe I’m sure, but the former 1st ranked offensive line in the NFL, when healthy, is very good and can go up against the best. Bills offensive line will also try and exploit the absence of linebacker Brian Cushing by running with top backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. The offensive line is a key match-up to watch and maybe decide the outcome of this game.
4- Force Houston to make mistakes
The Texans only have one loss this season, and it was a pretty thorough slashing by the Packers. Reviewing the game, the team as a whole, were forced into silly mistakes that resulted in points on the board for the Packers. Penalties were costly, as rookie Devier Posey was offsides on a punt, resulting in a Green Bay first down and led to an Aaron Rodgers 41 yard touchdown immediately following the penalty. They also were called for unsportsmanlike conduct when Green Bay went for a field goal attempt, and then were rewarded with a first down and again, Rodgers threw for a touchdown.
While it will be difficult to force these kinds of mistakes on the Texans, the Bills can change some things up with signal calls and hopefully force turnovers. If the Texans have any weakness, it looks like they struggle to line up after a mistake, whether it be penalty or turnover so it would be wise for the Bills to be aggressive if they can force the Texans into making mistakes. Points on the board
5- Take advantage of field position on special teams
I have touched on this before, but it will be important again as the Bills will need to take advantage of every opportunity possible. The Bills special teams have also been a positive aspect of the team as well. The best way to keep the Texans from scoring is by keeping them off the field. The means Fitzpatrick needs to establish drives and score on them with playing in panic mode for most of the game.
This season, the Bills have made some changes to the special teams and we are still waiting to see it really pay off. They added John Potter because of his long kicking ability in hopes that he would be able to kick off into the end zone and eliminate players from making long runs on special teams. The Bills also kept punter Shawn Powell, instead of Brian Moorman saying that it was time to move on and that Powell was a better option when it came to field positioning. In a game of trying to find every advantage and angle, these guys will also need to step up for Buffalo.
Let me know what you think the Bills will need to do this week in order to post a huge upset against the Houston Texans. Follow me on twitter too @christynepolle