By Lisa Johnson //@LJ1303
The year’s first postseason game will kick off on Saturday afternoon with the Houston Texans playing host to the Buffalo Bills.
Houston Texans – This will be the Texans 6th wild card appearance and they’re 3-2 in the wild card round. With the division locked up, Texans coach Bill O’Brien sat most of his starters including his star receiver and quarterback during last week’s game against the Tennessee Titans. But the biggest news came earlier this week, as the Texans activated defensive end, J.J. Watt, off injured reserve. Watt was injured early in the season after tearing his pectoral muscle.
Key to the game for the Texans – Has to be this offensive line. The Texans line has to control the line of scrimmage. Get off on their run blocks and pass protect for QB Deshaun Watson. Currently, the Texans are 25th in the league in quarterback sacks allowed. Not a great stat, with the league’s fifth-ranked defense coming to town.
Buffalo Bills – The Bills are no strangers to the playoffs. This will be Buffalo’s 8th wild card appearance. The Bills, just like the Texans, took advantage of having already locked up their playoff spot by resting their starters in last week’s game against the Jets.
Key to the game – It’s got to be quarterback Josh Allen. This is why the Bills spent a first-round pick on this young man. His performance will determine the outcome of this game. This past season, every game he performed well in, the Bills got a victory. Now, in a win or go home situation, he must prove his worth. He must step under center and prove it to his team. Bills fans are expecting Allen to step up and prove that he is indeed Buffalos’ future. A win in Houston on Saturday will be a huge step in that direction.
Pick – Upset special. Bills 24 – Texans 14
The Bills own the 2nd-best scoring defense in the NFL this season. Per ESPN Stats & Info, Saturday will mark the Texans’ 4th playoff game against a Top-3 scoring defense from the regular season. They went 0-3 the first 3 games.
Texans vs Top-3 Scoring… https://t.co/6MDlSDqQBC
— Marcel Louis-Jacques (@Marcel_LJ) January 1, 2020
Our second AFC Wild Card game will feature the New England Patriots hosting the Tennessee Titans.
New England Patriots – The mere fact that I’m writing about the New England Patriots in a Wild Card round after 9 straight years with a bye is amazing. The defending Super Bowl Champions will host the Titans at Gillette stadium.
Key to the game – Has to come down to the Patriots defense. The Titans, under quarterback Ryan Tannehill, have already proven they can score fast and often. Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and wide receiver Devante Parker were able to exploit this Patriots secondary. Patriots cornerback, Stephon Gilmore, who many say is the best cornerback in the game, felt that this was just one game. He vowed that he and this Patriots defense will just handle what’s next. Which will be to shut down QB Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry.
Tennessee Titans – This is the Titans 14th Wild Card appearance. The Titans switched quarterbacks early in the season, benching former first-round pick Marcus Mariota for another first-rounder, Ryan Tannehill.
Key to the game – Derrick Henry. The Titans have to get Henry the ball early and often. Wear the Patriots down with the ground and pound. Set up quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the play action. Control the time of possession and keep QB Tom Brady on the sidelines. Head Coach Mike Vrabel needs to stay consistent and coach mistake-free football, in order to defeat this very playoff seasoned Patriot team
Pick – Patriots 28 – Titans 17
The #Patriots are 0-4 this year when their opponent scores at least 20 points. The #Titans have scored at least 20 points in 10 straight games (every game Tannehill has started). Would seemingly bode well for them if they can make it 11 straight.
— Mike Herndon (@MikeMiracles) December 31, 2019
Follow Lisa on Twitter // @LJ1303