The Texans are in the postseason for the fourth time in six seasons with Bill O’Brien as their coach. They have a 1-3 playoff record under O’Brien, with the lone victory coming in the 2016 season.
Third-year Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is still looking for his first NFL postseason win. He threw for 235 yards and a touchdown in last season’s opening-round loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Watson is coming off a very good 2019 regular season in which he threw for 3,852 yards and 26 touchdowns, with 12 interceptions.
O’Brien upped the stakes for this season when the Texans made a win-now trade with the Miami Dolphins in late August for left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills. But he also traded away defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, and the Houston defense struggled this season. The Texans were ranked 28th in the league in total defense. They hope to get a playoff boost from the return of three-time NFL defensive player of the year J.J. Watt, who was activated from the injured reserve list after suffering a torn pectoral muscle in late October.
The Texans will have to try to beat the Bills without the help of deep-threat wide receiver Will Fuller and cornerback Johnathan Joseph, both of whom are inactive.
The Bills are seeking their first playoff triumph since December, 1995. They’re in the postseason for the second time in three seasons — but also for only the second time this century.
Buffalo’s formula for winning games is to lean on its rugged defense and its running game. The Bills ranked eighth in the NFL in rushing offense during the regular season. They were second in the league in scoring defense, third in total defense and fourth in pass defense. Standout cornerback Tre’Davious White could be matched up often Saturday with top Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins. It’s not clear whether the Bills will have to worry about speedy Houston wide receiver Will Fuller, who’s listed as questionable because of a groin injury.
Second-year Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen improved this season as a passer but perhaps remains more effective as a runner, with nine rushing touchdowns during the regular season. The future is bright for a young Bills team that seems to be growing ever more confident as it develops under Coach Sean McDermott. Whether the Bills are ready to spring a postseason upset in Houston remains to be seen.