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1. Bills provided these surprises for Lorenzo Alexander’s potentially final home game

Lorenzo Alexander isn’t done just yet, but Sunday marked his final home game in a Bills uniform.

“Yeah, obviously that was a decision I made before the season,” Alexander said. “You know at this point we still got to play Houston next week, so my mind hasn’t even processed transition yet. I’m still in this thing 100% and I think once you start thinking about life after, you take some of the focus away from the guys and what’s important.”

What’s important to Alexander is his family. The Bills surprised him by having his 11-year old daughter Zoie sing the national anthem prior to the game while Alexander was standing with his family.

“It’s one of the proudest moments as a father I’ve had,” Alexander said. “It was real emotional and I didn’t know she was singing it. It was a cool experience and I thought she did a great job.”

Alexander was even given a curtain call early on in the game. Head coach Sean McDermott used a timeout early on in the first quarter to bring more attention to the substitution.

“I don’t know how to explain to you how Lorenzo Alexander has changed a lot of people in this locker room, including myself,” Micah Hyde said. “It’s the way he carries himself off and on the field. He just flies around. He’s the oldest guy in the locker room and he plays like the youngest. He definitely is a role model.”

Zoie Alexander surprised @onemangang97 and sang the national anthem before today’s game.

That’s one proud dad.

2. Bills ready to prepare for playoff matchup with Houston

The Bills playoff matchup is set. Buffalo will play the Houston Texans. The game marks the third straight playoff opponent from the AFC South and the first time the Bill will have played a playoff game in Houston.

“It’s going to be a challenge for us, they have lots of weapons on both sides of the ball,” Micah Hyde said. “I haven’t really watched them too much throughout the season. They had a primetime game and they looked amazing, so I know it’s going to be a big challenge.”

It’s the second time the Bills have made the playoffs in three seasons, but they still lack a lot of experience with a younger roster. Key contributors this season like Jordan Phillips have never played in the postseason.

“It’s going to be a fun experience for everybody,” Phillips said. “It amps up a lot and every play is crucial and everybody is going out there and giving it all they got every play. It’s such a battle in there that you have to get your mind right so it’s not easy.”

Leading Houston this season has been their quarterback Deshaun Watson. The third-year signal caller rested in Week 17 but started every other game this season. He threw for 256 yards per game to go along with 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

“He can do everything,” Hyde said. “He beats you with your arms and legs. I don’t think he gets enough credit for how smart he is and how he can read coverages. Then when the play breaks down that’s when I feel like he makes his plays the most.”

Coach McDermott: “From this point on, it’s a one game season. Wins in the playoffs don’t come easy and we need to earn everything as a team.”

Isaiah McKenzie played wide receiver, kick returner, punt returner, and cornerback for the Bills on Sunday. McKenzie was only used at corner for a few snaps, but it was necessary after injuries and precaution.

“It looked like he did good so maybe we’ll evaluate that,” head coach Sean McDermott said. “He didn’t blink which is admirable at that point. Just trying to protect ourselves more than anything at that point.”

The Bills sat Tre’Davious White, Levi Wallace was taken out with an ankle injury, Kevin Johnson was taken out as precaution, leaving just Taron Johnson, Dean Marlowe, and Siran Neal at corner. Then Taron Johnson got hurt. McKenzie was the next man up.

“Aw man I thought he was like Deion Sanders out there,” Duke Williams said. “They did a run play and I was like ‘oh lord they’re going to Isaiah’s side’ but he set the edge and the defense got the stop.”

The Bills primarily used a lot of backups on Sunday since their playoff seeding was already determined. On defense, Corey Thompson had five tackles while Daryl Johnson and Julian Stanford each had four. Offensively, the leading receivers were Williams with 108 yards and tight end Tommy Sweeney with 76.

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Custom Dion Dawkins Jersey Large

Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Dion Dawkins took time out of his offseason to jump on The Players’ Tribune.

The outlet, made for and by professional athletes, allows players all across sports to touch on topics personal to them with a personal touch. What is near and dear to Dawkins? Bills Mafia.

Dawkins used the outlet to pen his thoughts on the season that was and that teammates that are special to him. But an overlying topic was Bills fans and he had two key thoughts.

First, if you’re in, you’re in. If you’re not, don’t try to become a bandwagon member of Bills Mafia.

“I have an important message for those people,” Dawkins explained. “DO NOT TRY THIS.”

“The bandwagon is full,” Dawkins added.

But Dawkins wasn’t just trying to warn outsiders, he was excited to thank the Day 1 members. The left tackle explained throughout his football career, folks only knew he was a football player because he was big. But not in Buffalo.

Dawkins writes:

In Buffalo, man, it’s crazy. It’s crazy! Y’all are crazy. And I mean that in the best way possible. I’ll be at Wegmans, just shopping around, minding my business — and it’s not, “Big man over there, I think he might play for the Bills??” It’s not even, “Oh yeah, that dude, he plays for the Bills.” It’s, “DION!” It’s, “Shnowman!” It’s, “You already shnow!” And maybe that sounds like a small thing….. but I have to tell you, it’s really big. Those interactions, those moments with fans, those quick little hellos where the whole thing just lodges in your brain, like, Wow, what I do matters to these people? And they don’t just know me….. they know ABOUT me?? No lie: I cherish those moments. I will forever.

Friday and no work? #[email protected]

— Sam-Jarvis Green-Carges (@carkeys33) January 10, 2020

For Dawkins’ full article in The Players’ Tribune, click here.

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Custom Tre’Davious White Jersey Large

1. Tre’Davious White earns All-Pro recognition from these media outlets

Tre’Davious White is having a career season in many ways with six interceptions and the league’s most targets in coverage without giving up a touchdown. Due to the success, White is receiving national praise landing on three All-Pro teams so far including, Bleacher Report and Pro Football Talk

Bleacher Report

CB2: Tre’Davious White, Buffalo Bills (4 votes)

Scoring touchdowns is the entire point of football.

If a Buffalo Bills opponent wants to score six points, it shouldn’t target cornerback Tre’Davious White. According to Pro Football Focus, he recorded 599 coverage snaps without allowing a single touchdown.

Wesseling: Stephon Gilmore, New England Patriots; Tre’Davious White, Buffalo Bills. Gilmore finally allowed a touchdown in coverage on John Brown’s 53-yard bomb in Week 16, leaving White as the cornerback with the most targets (83) without surrendering a score, per NFL Research. It’s not every year that the interception leaderboard is headlined by the stingiest cover corners, but Gilmore and White sit atop the charts with six apiece while also ranking first (26) and second (23) in passes defensed, respectively. Gilmore ranked among the top three corners with an opposing passer rating of 47.4. Those numbers are all the more impressive considering New England’s secondary lines up in man-to-man coverage as frequently as any team in the league. Gilmore is the key chess piece on a defense that is only the third since 2002 to amass 25 or more interceptions while holding opposing passers to a rating under 63.0. Capable of taking over games by erasing No. 1 wideouts and forcing timely turnovers, White is perhaps the lone week-to-week difference-maker on a Bills squad that reached double-digit victories for the first time this century.

Pro Football Talk

CB: Tre’Davious White: As important as anyone to the Bills making the playoffs.

2. Tre’Davious White on Texans WRs: Those guys are explosive

Tre’Davious White and his teammates in the secondary will have their hands full with a few talented receivers in Houston including DeAndre Hopkins. When asked about the much anticipated matchup between he and Hopkins, White said he doesn’t see it as just a one-on-one matchup.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a one-on-one matchup because there are 11 guys on the field,” White said. “Whenever he aligns to the left side, I’ve got to be on my best game. When he aligns to the right side, Kevin [Johnson] has to be on his best game. It’s going to take all 11 of us to limit him because we know he is one of the best in the league. If we play team total defense and everybody runs to the ball, whenever he lines up to either side and we are on our A game, we will be fine.”

White understands it’s not just Hopkins, the defense needs to limit Kenny Stills and Will Fuller who will be a game-time decision.

“Those guys are explosive. It’s going to be tough, but I feel like with our preparation we will be fine.”

With how skilled Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson can be outside of the pocket, it will be important to keep him contained.

“He puts his team in a position to make plays,” White explained. “He has been explosive the last three years in the league. He has a big time arm, he’s accurate too. He can escape the pocket, so we have to have a little bit of luck going in there because that guy is tough.”

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell went into detail on how each NFL team left made it into the playoffs and what they need to do to keep winning. The list was organized by ESPN’s FPI to win the Super Bowl, which meant the Bills were No. 12. Barnwell explains it’s Buffalo’s defense that got them to the postseason.

How they got here: With a defense that won a few games outright and kept the team close in just about every other contest. The Bills allowed 24 points or fewer in 15 of 16 games, a figure no defense has topped since the Eagles went 16-for-16 in 2001. Over the past five years, teams that held their opponents below 25 points have won 74.2% of the time, which is roughly the pace of a 12-win season. Josh Allen and the offense have chipped in with four fourth-quarter comeback victories, tying the second-year quarterback for the league lead.

To keep the season alive, Barnwell says the Bills need to improve in the red zone.

Where they need to get hot in January: In the red zone on offense. Allen’s running ability gives the Bills a valuable weapon, but Buffalo is just above league average at 14th in red zone efficiency this season. That’s fine, but against the league’s best teams, they need to turn their goal-line opportunities into touchdowns, because they might get only two or three shots there per game.

Comparing the Bills to previous Super Bowl winners, ESPN thinks they are similar to the 2001 Patriots.

Past Super Bowl comp: 2001 Patriots. Bills fans might not be enthused about being compared to their archrivals, but that Patriots team was built around a strong defense that slowed down offenses in the red zone and a second-year quarterback whose job was mostly to avoid turnovers. Tom Brady didn’t have Allen’s rushing ability, and the Bills’ defense is better than that Patriots defense was by DVOA, but they win games with the same style of play.

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HOUSTON — The Buffalo Bills will be without starting cornerback Levi Wallace on Saturday.

Wallace will miss the wild-card playoff game against the Texans at NRG Stadium because of a sprained ankle, meaning Kevin Johnson will start opposite Tre’Davious White.

The Bills also made a big move at wide receiver. Duke Williams will play, while Robert Foster is a healthy inactive. Williams had six catches for 108 yards in the season finale against the Jets last Sunday.

Buffalo’s other inactives are tight end Tommy Sweeney, guard Ike Boettger, running back T.J. Yeldon, offensive tackle Ryan Bates and defensive tackle Vincent Taylor.

Right tackle Ty Nsekhe (ankle), defensive end Shaq Lawson (hamstring) and wide receiver Andre Roberts (foot), all of whom were questionable coming into the game, will play for the Bills.

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The Bills regular season finale left them with a few extra injuries to be concerned about, but the signs were positive at practice on Tuesday.

After a game that saw two players get carted off the field and a couple of others leave the game, only one missed practice on Tuesday.

CB Levi Wallace did not practice due to an ankle injury suffered last Sunday. Head coach Sean McDermott said they’ll take things a day at a time with the starting cornerback.

Lawson and Roberts, who missed last week’s game with hamstring and foot injuries practiced on Tuesday on a limited basis as did Nsekhe, who was carted from the field in Week 17 with an ankle injury.

All three players were moving around well during the media viewing portion of practice Tuesday.

When Lawson was asked how his hamstring was feeling following practice, the defensive end had a two-word answer.

“It’s good,” he said.

Roberts also confirmed that his foot held up well in practice.

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Custom Spencer Long Jersey Large

Like the rest of us, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be watching the NFL Playoffs this year. Unlike the rest of us, the Bucs have a chance of making it to the post-season next year, and could potentially do so using the assistance of some guys getting a little playoff experience in 2020.

As the Buffalo Bills travel to face the Houston Texans, here are some guys doing so on expiring contracts who could become targets of Jason Licht and the Buccaneers when the new league year begins in early March.

OLB, Lorenzo Alexander (37) LB, Maurice Alexander (30)

G, Isaac Asiata (27) FS, Kurt Coleman (32)

TE, Jason Croom (26) WR, Robert Foster (26)

RB, Frank Gore (37) CB, Kevin Johnson (28)

DE, SHAQ LAWSON (26) DT, Corey Liuget (30)

C, Spencer Long (29) SS, Dean Marlowe (28)

WR, Isaiah McKenzie (25) RB, Senorise Perry (28)

DT, Jordan Phillips (27) G, Quinton Spain (29)

OLB, Julian Stanford (29) RT, LaAdrian Waddle (29)

CB, Levi Wallace (25)

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Back-up defensive end isn’t what the Buffalo Bills thought they were drafting in 2016 when they took Shaq Lawson with the 16th overall pick, but they did.

Now, a year after having his fifth-year option declined, Lawson will enter the post-season with seventeen career starts and 16.5 sacks in his four years with Buffalo. There are members of Bills Mafia who want their team to re-sign the 25-year old defensive end, but then again, the former first-rounder may depart upstate New York looking for a better opportunity elsewhere.

As a 4-3 defensive end, Lawson hasn’t been able to fulfill the potential so many saw in him coming out of Clemson. In fact, as part of an assignment while working towards my Bachelor’s Degree, I did a TED Talk style presentation explaining why the Buccaneers themselves should take Lawson with their first-round pick that year.

Instead, they took Vernon Hargreaves III who will be suiting up on the other sideline from Lawson this weekend.

This off-season, there may be a chance for my projections in 2016 to become a reality in 2020. If the Bucs were to entertain signing Lawson, he would likely transition into an outside linebacker in Todd Bowles’ 3-4 based scheme. He’d come in similar to Shaquil Barrett in 2019, as a young defender with potential needing an opportunity to earn playing time.

Barrett certainly made good on his opportunity to thrive under Bowles, so why not bring in another Shaq, to see if he can’t go Shaq-to-Shaq on free-agent additions? Sorry. Had to.

FS, Mike Adams (39) OLB, Tyrell Adams (28)

SS, Jahleel Addae (30) WR, DeAndre Carter (27)

OT, Chris Clark (34) ILB, Dylan Cole (26)

DT, Brandon Dunn (27) K, Ka’imi Fairbairn (26)

TE, Darren Fells (34) CB, Phillip Gaines (29)

RB, CARLOS HYDE (28) OT, Roderick Johnson (24)

RB, Taiwan Jones (32) CB, Johnathan Joseph (36)

QB, A.J. McCarron (29) RB, Lamar Miller (29)

OLB, Barkevious Mingo (29) DT, D.J. Reader (26)

CB, Bradley Roby (28) QB, Joe Webb (33)

LS, Jon Weeks (34)

NFL: Houston Texans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Carlos Hyde is past the days where a team will likely look at him as their lone backfield attacker, but he’s still very capable. Evidenced by the fact he’s coming off his first thousand-yard season in his sixth NFL season.

Sharing touches with Duke Johnson didn’t keep Hyde from putting up some solid numbers, and if the Texans don’t strike a deal with him before free-agency, he’s likely to land with a team looking to boost their own running attack. The Bucs are just such a team.

Tampa Bay’s defense was able to hold Hyde to a microscopic 1.6 yards per carry average in their match-up against the Houston Texans this season, but outside of that game, Hyde had just four games where he averaged under three yards per carry.

In addition to some career highs in the running game, Hyde has shown an ability to be a pass catcher out of the backfield, even if it’s not something teams lean on him heavily for.

Keep an eye on Hyde and how he does against a middle-of-the-pack Bills run defense allowing 4.3 yards per carry in the 2019-2020 season.

Hyde and Lawson are just a couple of the potential free-agents taking the field for Wild Card Weekend as the Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans take part in the elimination game.

Let us know your thoughts on both of these guys, as well as any of the other upcoming free-agents you’ll be keeping an eye on.

We’ll be back with more looks at the teams competing in the 2019-20 NFL Playoffs!

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Buffalo Bills cornerback Kevin Johnson spent four seasons with the Houston Texans as he was their former 2015 first-round pick. Of course, he would have knowledge on his old team.

However, his old quarterback had knowledge on him, and it came into play on the 34-yard pass to running back Taiwan Jones that setup Ka’imi Fairbairn’s game-winning 28-yard field goal in overtime of the AFC wild-card Saturday evening at NRG Stadium.

“I knew it was blitz 0,” Watson told Lisa Salters of ESPN after the game. “I checked the play. Kevin Johnson was here last year, so he knew the signal, seen him bail, and I just told myself to stay up.”

Watson shed two would-be sacks from Bills defenders and scrambled out to his right where he found Jones, whose 34-yard reception was more to do with his yards after the catch than Watson’s air yards.

Nonetheless, they would not have been possible if the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback had not stayed upright.

“It’s do or die right now, and all the work I put in in the offseason, I just had to make a play,” said Watson.

According to the former 2017 first-round draft pick from Clemson, he left little cards in the lockers of his teammates prior to the playoff game. On each card it said, “Let’s be great today.”

Said Watson: “So, somebody had to be great today. Why not me?”

Watson finished completing 20-of-25 for 247 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed 14 times for 55 yards and a score.

Because of Watson’s efforts to be great against the Bills, the Texans are in the divisional round of the playoffs for the fourth time in franchise history. The results of the Tennessee Titans versus New England Patriots wild-card bout on Saturday night determine whether the Texans travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens or go to Kansas City to play the Chiefs.

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Bills offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe’s return was short-lived.

Nsekhe had not played since injuring his right ankle against the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 17. The Bills had hoped to give him some work in the season finale against the Jets on Sunday in order to see if he would be ready for the playoffs.

Instead, shortly after getting into the game, Nsekhe injured the same ankle in basically the same way. He was rolled up on during a running play.

Nsekhe went down and was tended to by athletic trainers. He removed his shoe and was unable to put any weight on the ankle when he stood up. Nsekhe was helped off the field by teammates Dion Dawkins and Jon Feliciano and later carted to the locker room from the sideline.

He has been ruled out for the remainder of the game and that could likely end his season.

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1. Frank Gore weighs in on his NFL future

Veteran running back Frank Gore came to Buffalo on a one-year contract. Now that the season has come to an end, the 15-year vet is not positive on his future holds.

“I don’t know,” Gore said. “I’m going to take some time off. My body still feels good and I felt like I showed people I can still play this game when I got opportunities. I’m going to take some time and think about it.”

Gore says one thing that will play into his decision is his son who will start playing college football this fall.

“My son is going to be going to college,” Gore said. “So, I’ll sit down with him and go from there. I’m not in a rush to make a decision. I know I still can play this game. But I’m going to get away from it and I’ll see.”

2. Buffalo secures No. 22 pick in 2020 draft

After the weekend’s Wild Card games, the Bills, Patriots, Saints and Eagles all locked up their draft spots in the first-round of the 2020 NFL draft.

No. 21 – Eagles

No. 22 – Bills

No. 23 – Patriots

No. 24 – Saints

CBS Sports thinks the Bills need to continue to build around Josh Allen with their first pick in the draft.

Next comes the Bills at No. 22. Buffalo appeared to be a team ahead of schedule, making the playoffs in Josh Allen’s second year as starter thanks in large part to an outstanding season from their defense. The front office certainly has areas of improvement to target as the team heads into the offseason, but the Bills’ 2020 fortunes will hinge on the continued development of their young quarterback.

The Bills have nine draft picks in the 2020 NFL Draft – first round pick, second round pick, third round pick, fourth round pick, fifth round pick, fifth round pick (from Cleveland), sixth round pick, sixth round pick (from Cleveland), sixth round pick (from New England).

The Bills at Texans game was viewed by many around the world averaging 26,409,000 viewers, and peaked at 34,450,000 viewers during overtime. It was the most viewed Saturday afternoon Wild Card game since 2014 and the most viewed Wild Card game ever on ESPN/ABC. The audience went up 14% from the season before—the Colts-Texans Wild Card game drew an average of 23,110,000 viewers.

The game had a 26.0 combined rating on ESPN/ABC in Houston. Outside of the competing teams, Nashville was next with a 23.5 rating and Kansas City was third with 22.3.

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HOUSTON — Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown threw his second touchdown pass of the season on Saturday when he took a reverse hand off and found quarterback Josh Allen for a 16-yard touchdown pass.

Watch the reply below.

John Brown throws to @JoshAllenQB for the TD! #GoBills

Brown’s first touchdown pass of the season came in the Thanksgiving Day match up against the Dallas Cowboys. He threw that one to running back Devin Singletary.

The Bills went 75 yards on six plays to score on the opening drive for the first time since Week 9. Allen also broke a 42-yard rush to set up the touchdown.

Watch that run below.