Even without the second part of their two-headed rushing attack, the Texans have managed to put up over 140 yards per game (currently 6th in the NFL). Backup running back Ben Tate has been nursing a hamstring injury and it's likely he will again be on the sidelines this week.
The Bills’ huge-money offseason addition Mario Williams has disappointed so far, recording just 3.5 sacks. That may change this week, though. Williams is back with the team after undergoing minor surgery on his bothersome wrist, per ESPN. Now healthy, Williams will have plenty of motivation playing at his old stadium and against his former teammates.
Where: Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas
When: Sunday, Nov. 3 at 1 p.m. ET
Watch: CBS and DirecTV channel 710
Betting Line: Texans (-10.5) (via Bovada)
Buffalo Injury Report (via CBS Sports)
|DL Mario Williams||Wrist||Questionable|
|DL Mark Anderson||Knee||Questionable|
Houston Injury Report (via CBS Sports)
|RB Ben Tate||Hamstring||Questionable|
|DB Quintin Demps||Thumb, forearm||Questionable|
What's At Stake?
Sitting at 6-1, the Houston Texans are in a comfortable position to ride their early season success into the playoffs. However, the Indianapolis Colts are just two games behind and are much improved from a season ago.
For Buffalo, this is a perfect opportunity to walk into hostile territory and come away with an upset win to get back into contention in the AFC East. The Bills have a somewhat favorable schedule remaining. Of the nine games left on their schedule, four of them are against divisional opponents.
Losing to a good Texans team won’t kill the Bills’ chances but it won’t make their climb back into contention any easier.
For Houston, they have remaining games against Chicago, Detroit, New England and Minnesota in addition to divisional games against Jacksonville, Tennessee and two against the Colts. Winning games like this, against teams you should beat, is what distinguishes the contenders from the pretenders.
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
It’s no surprise that Foster is having one of the best fantasy seasons of any running back this season. He was a consensus No. 1 overall pick and has lived up to that draft selection with a consistent weekly effort this season.
Buffalo is allowing over 176.9 yards and almost two touchdowns per game on the ground, and Foster is averaging 94 yards per game and over one touchdown per game.
It’s really simple; you aren’t going to sit Arian Foster, ever, let alone against his best matchup of the season. There are no sure things, but if there were, this is it.
Stevie Johnson, WR, Buffalo Bills
If there is one weakness in the Houston Texans, it was exposed in a six-touchdown performance by quarterback Aaron Rodgers. A susceptibility to the pass may exist in the secondary, that’s if the pass rush doesn’t consume QB Ryan Fitzpatrick first.
All in all, the Bills are likely going to be playing from behind and will need to be throwing in the dome. That bodes well for the receivers in Buffalo and Johnson is the best of the bunch.
Johnson is the second-best Johnson at the wide receiver position, averaging 8.6 points per game in ESPN standard scoring leagues. He’s been consistent, for the most party, and has a favorable matchup against a secondary that’s been suspect at times this season.
What They Are Saying
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller said during a preview of this week’s matchup that J.J. Watt, not Foster, will make the biggest impact in this game.
“J.J. Watt’s not only the MVP of this team, there’s a damn good chance he’s the MVP of the whole NFL right now,” Miller said.
That’s a very good point, both in the impact Watt will have in disrupting Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills offense and the fact that he very well may be the league’s NFL at the midway point of the season.
Apparently, new Bills pass-rusher Mario Williams said he was forced out of Houston and wants the fans to know the real situation before returning to play in front of them for the first time since he left for Buffalo for an extravagant $100 million contract.
"I didn't want to enter free agency in the first place, but it was a one-way door given to me by the GM to leave Houston," Williams said, according to Mark Berman of KRIV-TV in Houston. "I want the fans there to know entering free agency was not my decision."
Key Matchup: Buffalo front seven vs. Arian Foster and Texans offensive line
Houston’s offensive line has made holes against the best rush defenses in the league, and no matter who is in the backfield, they’ve punished teams with their ground game. That’s allowed the Texans to control the tempo and dictate the outcome of most of their games this season.
Buffalo’s defensive line has looked good at times but has fallen short of expectations due to injuries and a disappointing start by Mario Williams. Williams is known more for his pass-rushing, though, and may be a part of those struggles.
The Texans are 3-1 at home, with their lone loss coming during a complete disaster against a motivated Green Bay Packers team. Buffalo is no Green Bay, though, and will struggle even after having an extra week to prepare for the game thanks to a bye week.
Texans 34, Bills 17
Mike Hoag Jr. covers the NFL and Cleveland Browns for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter for a good time.