The Buffalo Bills are set to clash with the Houston Texans this afternoon to kick off the 2019 NFL Playoffs. This is the first meeting of the two franchises in the playoffs, as Houston came into the league in 2002. It’s Houston’s sixth playoff berth overall, and fourth in the last five years. For Buffalo, this marks their second playoff appearance since the Texans’ franchise inception, both of which have come in the last three years.
Josh Allen makes his first career playoff start, while Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson makes his second. Last year, Houston lost in the Wild Card round to the Indianapolis Colts, 21-7. Watson sat out last week’s regular season finale, a 35-14 loss to the Tennessee Titans, while Allen only played two series in Buffalo’s regular season-ending loss to the New York Jets.
Buffalo’s top two receivers, John Brown and Cole Beasley, sat last week for rest purposes, and both are ready to return today against a Texans pass defense that ranked No. 29 in the NFL in yards allowed this year. Houston, meanwhile, is without No. 2 wideout Will Fuller, who is still recovering from a groin injury. That’s a huge blow to Houston’s passing attack, as Watson performs significantly better with Fuller in the lineup than he does without him.
Your first-half thread is here, ladies and gentlemen. Here’s to a successful start to the 2019 playoffs. Go Bills!