For the sixth time in franchise history, the Houston Texans will open up NFL Wild Card Weekend on Saturday afternoon.
The AFC South champion is 3-2 in the Wild Card Round, but it has fallen in two of its past three postseason openers, including a loss to the Indianapolis Colts last season.
The Buffalo Bills head to NRG Stadium for their second postseason appearance in three seasons. In the 2017-18 campaign, the AFC's No. 5 seed only managed three points in a defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Houston is a mild favorite, but it may have trouble with Buffalo's playmakers on both sides of the ball.
Bills at Texans Information
Date: Saturday, January 4
Start Time: 4:35 p,m. ET
Odds (via Caesars): Houston -3; Over/Under: 43.5
Tre'Davious White Continues to Shine on National Stage
Because Buffalo has not been in the national spotlight much this season, many people have not seen how dominant Tre'Davious White can be in the secondary.
We received a glimpse of his season-long production in Week 15, when he picked off a pair of passes in a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The third-year corner totaled a career high in interceptions with six, and he produced his second season with 17 passes defended.
He ranks in the top five in the NFL in both categories and will be tasked with shutting down DeAndre Hopkins on Saturday afternoon. Buffalo's passing defense has held three of its past four opponents under 200 yards, and it was torched for a single 300-yard performance.
If White contains Hopkins, Deshaun Watson may struggle, especially with Will Fuller listed as questionable with a strained hamstring, per the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson.
In Houston's three most recent playoff defeats, it totaled a combined 23 points. If White shines once again, the home side could suffer a similar fate.
Houston's Defense Still Struggles with Watt Back
Houston received a defensive boost this week, with J.J. Watt placed back on the active roster.
While the defensive end could make an impact on the contest, he will not fix every problem with the Texans defense.
Following their Week 10 bye, the Texans allowed 400 or more yards in five of seven games. In two of those clashes, the AFC South side allowed more than 300 passing yards to the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots.
The secondary's inefficiency could factor into quarterback Josh Allen's success with wide receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley.
In all but one of his eight road trips, the second-year quarterback hit the 200-yard mark through the air. With Brown threatening down the field and Beasley cutting across the middle, Allen should test the Texans with his top two targets.
Tight end Dawson Knox may also be an offensive asset, as he is facing a Houston defense that allowed the 12th-most receiving yards to tight ends.
Even if Watt increases the pressure on Allen, he will not be able to cover up the holes in the secondary, which is where the Bills could make the difference in the contest.