Here are my hot reads from the Buffalo Bills’ 13-6 loss against the New York Jets Sunday at New Era Field.
Now that the Bills have gotten their regular-season-finale/preseason game out of the way, they can turn their attention to what actually matters: The playoffs.
The Bills will face the Houston Texans next weekend at NRG Stadium. The Texans became the opponent once the other potential foe, the Kansas City Chiefs, scored a 31-21 victory against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday to lock Houston, which won the AFC South championship, into the fourth seed.
Conventional wisdom is that the Texans are the much better draw, because the Bills have a far better chance of beating them. The primary advantage to facing the Houston is the Bills avoid going against Chiefs dynamic quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
However, the Texans are expected to have dominant defensive end J.J. Watt back from injury. They also play a sound scheme, under veteran defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, that is rooted in the same concepts as those used by the New England Patriots, who formerly employed Crennel. Quarterback Josh Allen could have his hands full.
The Bills’ defense could have issues against Deshaun Watson and the rest of the Texans’ passing game with multiple injuries to the secondary suffered Sunday.
Allen exiting the field healthy Sunday after only two possessions, and Matt Barkley taking over the rest of the way.
Defensive end Trent Murphy had two sacks while receiving extensive action because fellow end Shaq Lawson was inactive with an injured hamstring.
The Bills making cornerback Tre’Davious White, receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley, running back Devin Singletary, and tight end Dawson Knox inactive for the game.
The Bills calling a timeout just before the snap of the Jets’ second offensive series to remove linebacker Lorenzo Alexander from the game and allow him to receive an ovation. Alexander is expected to retire after the season. His daughter, Zoie, sang the national anthem, and Alexander gave her a hug at midfield afterward.
The Bills losing cornerback Levi Wallace and offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe to what appear to be serious ankle injuries. Wallace was injured late in the first quarter while intercepting a Sam Darnold pass. His right foot looked to catch in the turf, causing him to bend his ankle awkwardly. Offensive guard Quinton Spain rolled up on Nsekhe’s right ankle, which Nsekhe had previously injured and subsequently missed the five games preceding the encounter against the Jets. As a precaution after Wallace’s injury, the Bills took third cornerback Kevin Johnson out of the game and replaced him with safety Dean Marlowe.
How desperate were the Bills for secondary help? After cornerback Taron Johnson left the game late in the fourth quarter after Jaquan Johnson stepped on his right foot/shin, receiver Isaiah McKenzie was inserted at corner.
Barkley threw two interceptions and lost one of two fumbles. He completed 15 of 28 passes for 165 yards and had a passer rating of 41.5.
Setting the table
The day and time of the Bills-Texans wild-card playoff game weren’t immediately revealed by the NFL. This marks the Bills’ second postseason appearance since 2017.