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Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Texans Point Spread - Pick

Buffalo Bills (10-6 SU, 9-5-2 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (10-6 SU, 7-8-1 ATS)
AFC Wild Card Playoffs
Date/Time: Saturday, January 4, 2020 at 4:35PM EST
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
TV: ABC

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: BUF +3/HOU -3
Over/Under Total: 42.5

The Buffalo Bills take on the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on Saturday in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs. The stakes are now ratcheted up a notch, with a lot on the table for both teams, each of whom have never tasted the champion's champagne. The Bills lost on Sunday, but get a pass for phoning it in in a game where they had nothing to gain. It was a signature season for the Bills and since 1999, a 2017 wild card loss is the only postseason action they've seen. They look for better this time around in a tough road spot against the AFC South champion Texans. They also had little to gain on Sunday, losing to the Titans. This is their 4th division title in five seasons and they look to make a bigger dent in the postseason this time around.

The Bills saw a lot of things take hold this season. Their defense is a well-rounded one. They're solid across all areas, while making a lot of plays. On offense, they run the ball a lot and the growth of second-year quarterback Josh Allen is a big part of what got them here. The prevailing vibe on the Bills is that they did a good job to get here and now it's time for reality to come crashing down on them. Can they flip the script? After all, it's not the most difficult spot, as Houston is beatable. But for a Buffalo team whose week five win over Tennessee was their only win over a team going to the playoffs this season, can they thrive in this context?

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Josh Allen is a real go-getter, with 20 TDs through the air and another nine on the ground. He can get it done a few different ways. Frank Gore is still a reliable weapon, but it's the play of Devin Singletary down the stretch that give this Bills run-game some real teeth. He has also been a valuable short-yards aerial weapon. With John Brown over 1000 yards and Cole Beasley putting up almost 800 yards, they have some viable targets this season for Allen to exploit and add in guys like Dawson Knox, Isaiah McKenzie, and others and it's a serviceable offense. And they won't be going against the toughest defense they faced all season.

The real hope for the Bills may lay on the other side of the ball, as Buffalo had one of the best defensive units in the league. They allowed only an average of 16.2 points per game, while being stiff against the run, with one of the best secondary groups in the league. Between Trent Murphy, Ed Oliver, Shaq Lawson (questionable), Jordan Phillips, and Jerry Hughes, they really get after the quarterback. Their pass-defense with Micah Hyde, Tre'Davious White, Levi Wallace (questionable), Jordan Poyer, and others has been outstanding. With playmakers on this side of the ball like White and his six picks, this side of the ball can really make an imprint on a game.

The Texans are a good team, a division champion with good things to like on both sides of the ball They just have this air of being flawed, whether it's their defense, the lack of automaticity with their offense, or how a lot of their wins were by close margins. But with three wins over teams in the playoffs, their ceiling seems higher. Some personnel issues on offense and a defense that doesn't really thrive in any area leave a lot of concerns. Make no mistake, however, as they are dangerous. On the surface, however, you see a team ranked toward the bottom in most defensive categories, while being average across-the-board on offense and it fails to excite. They're better than their rankings might suggest.

Deshaun Watson had a good season, perhaps not a great one, but good. Being without a lot of key weaponry this season has hurt and they enter this game a little banged up, with Will Fuller out and Kenny Stills dinged-up, with key tackle Laremy Tunsil also questionable. But with DeAndre Hopkins, Darren Fells, Jordan Akins, along with surprisingly-effective back Carlos Hyde, he has some pieces to work with. It's just not a very deep offense and having some key pieces compromised is a bit concerning heading into the postseason.

We've seen some troubling aspects of the Houston defense over the second half of the season. In their last four games, they allowed a combined 114 points. News about getting JJ Watt is good to hear and they do have difference-makers in Whitney Mercilus, along with a very active middle with Zach Cunningham and Benardrick McKinney (questionable). They have five players on this side of the ball who have multiple interceptions. But having Bradley Roby and Jonathan Joseph questionable for this game doesn't really help. All told, it's not the impactful and stout group they were hoping for. Still, it was good enough to get them here.

Both teams have a pretty wide range. We don't really know what to expect in a one-game window with these team,s as their forms can be pretty wide. With six wins on the road this season, Buffalo has shown they can travel with this defense and get it done away from home. This is not an easy spot and Buffalo will have concerns in every game moving forward, namely if their offense can keep pace and if their "D" can't really control games at this level. Against a highly imperfect Houston squad, however, I see Buffalo hanging in there and covering the spread.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Buffalo Bills plus 3 points. Bet the Bills vs. Texans game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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