NFL Picks: Trust in Texans' Defense to Stop Bills' Running Game

Swinging Johnson

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 8:48 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015 8:48 PM UTC

The Texans have gotten hot at the right time and are now tied with the Colts in the AFC South while the Bills have dropped their last pair of games. Let’s review what the NFL odds makers are offering and cash in our NFL picks on Sunday.

Houston Texans (6-5 SU, 6-5 ATS)
The defense that was constructed to make NFL fans salivate only left them famished...until recently. The Houston Texans boast an embarrassment of defensive riches with All-World pass rushing savant J.J. Watt surrounded by top overall pick in the 2014 draft Jadaveon Clowney and former Patriots All-Pro and defensive stalwart Vince Wilfork. That crew faltered out of the gate but has turned it around in a hurry. Not so surprisingly as the Texan’s defense goes so too goes their chances of entering the postseason.

The season started miserably as the Texans, picked as the only AFC South team to give the Colts a run for their money, dropped four of their first five games. The offense struggled with two quarterbacks who were neck-and-neck yet neither delivered enough to firmly claim the job as his own. However, after vacillating between the two, head coach Bill O’Brien finally declared Brian Hoyer the starter which sent his other quarterback Ryan Mallet off the rails and out of a job.

Houston now has stability on offense not to mention a true-blue Texas sized talent in receiver DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans defense is now living up to all the preseason hype and has allowed a total of just 35 points over their last four games. Those defensive gems have all turned out to be straight up winners and have covered the all-important number in those who have backed the Texans in their NFL picks.


Buffalo Bills (5-6 SU, 5-5-1 ATS)
Like their opponents this coming Sunday, Buffalo was built on defense and Rex Ryan was hired to be the architect. Ryan was coming into the perfect storm with a defense that had ranked 4th in the league last season and his hiring this season was supposed to cement that lofty perch if not make this team the very best in the business. However, the difference between perception and reality can be startling and in this instance it was even more than that.

Buffalo ranks tied for 29th in sacks per passing attempt and 20th in yards allowed per play. The team is allowing an average of 23.4 points per game which places them squarely in the middle of the pack for NFL defenses. Ironically the positives this season stem from the offense. Tyrod Taylor has been a boon to this team and receiver Sammy Watkins is the real deal when he’s not injured or complaining.

LeSean McCoy was brought in to ramp up the rushing attack and though he’s been good, he’s not been spectacular but fifth-round pick Karlos Williams out of FSU has been better than advertised when called upon. Between McCoy and Williams the Bills’ rushing offense ranks 5th (136.7 YPG) in the league yet their passing offense has sputtered due to Taylor’s and Watkins’ injuries and is currently in the cellar in terms of passing yards per game.


Betting Analysis
The key to this game is that the Buffalo Bills need to run the ball to be successful and the Texans will have none of it. Houston has limited their opponents to a mere 59.3 rushing yards per game over the course of their last four games in which the defense has been a brick wall. Factor into that equation that Buffalo rookie Karlos Williams’ status is questionable after he was sidelined with a shoulder injury last week in Buffalo’s loss to the Chiefs.

So you say the Bills will pass but let’s not forget that Buffalo owns the 28th ranked passing attack and averages a paltry 210 yards per game through the air. Let us also not forget that J.J. Watt and company will be wreaking havoc in the Bills’ backfield. While I understand the Texans are not exactly an offensive juggernaut they do have enough juice to get the job done particularly if DeAndre Hopkins is on his game. The NFL odds makers have Buffalo as the home chalk but I believe they have the wrong favorite in this one.

NFL Picks: Play the Texans +3.5 (-113) at at Pinnacle

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