Behind Enemy Lines: 5 questions with Texans Wire

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Can the Buffalo Bills add to their win total against the Houston Texans in Week 3?

In an effort to get more insight on the Texans, Bills Wire chatted with Texans Wire managing editor Mark Lane in this week’s behind enemy lines feature:

Q: Hugely disappointing that Tyrod Taylor won’t be playing. But what’s the feeling on Tyrod currently in Houston? Do folks believe in him? The Texans did appear to be playing well with him in there.

ML — Taylor looked like his old Bills self. In fact, he looked better than he did in 2017 because he was scrambling to find big plays downfield, not using his mobility to run. It really was a narrative-flipper. Maybe the Texans weren’t going to be horrendous enough to finish bottom-5. Heck, maybe they could get into the playoffs thanks to the extra spot added last season. It had that same effect Ryan Fitzpatrick has when he is the starter in his fir

Q: Without Tyrod, we have Davis Mills. Is there any thought of him potentially being the long-term guy or is the jury still out?

ML — Mills has done nothing to show he should be given the keys to the kingdom. The only thing he does well is, as a rookie, he doesn’t panic. But he is such a throwback to how quarterback play used to be in this city before 2017. The only way he coudl be “the guy” is if they surround him with weapons and ask him to not do too much. However, this isn’t 1993. You kind of need your quarterback to be the focal point of your offense.

Q: Speaking of Texans QBs, everyone knows what’s going on with Deshaun Watson. Is there any chance he’s going to be moved any time soon? Any other latest twists going on with that saga?

ML — Jay Glazer of FOX Sports says the Texans are starting to soften in their demands and taking calls they weren’t normally taking during training camp. Watson could be moved by the trade deadline. If not, at least the storyline goes away until mid-January. His no-trade clause makes it difficult as Houston can’t just trade him to a bad team for a boatload of picks. Watson has as much say in where he goes as the team does.

Q: Last week the Panthers shutdown the Texans’ rushing attack. How did they manage to do so?

ML — They stacked the box and did not anticipate a rookie quarterback starting on short notice to torch them deep. Carolina was right. Teams, in general, can shutdown any aspect of an offense they want; it is always a pick-your-poison situation. They knew Mills couldn’t keep up with their offense, and that is what happened. They sold out to stop the run, and frankly had the personnel who are adept at doing so, and Mills never chased them out of the box. Expect more of the same in Week 4.

Q: Should the Bills be concerned with the defensive front Houston has? Buffalo’s offensive line has been suspect at times, and that’s the way they could potentially be slowed down by the Texans.

ML — No. Given the composition of the Texans four weeks into the season, it shouldn’t be an issue. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, the Texans defense is sacking Josh Allen, gets a fumble, forces him into an interception. Unless the Texans are able to cash in on those freebies, it’s inconsequential. If Houston is kicking field goals with those extra possessions, the Bills’ big-play offense is still in the game. If the game is close going into the fourth quarter, the Bills with Allen have enough experience to navigate the endgame compared to someone like Mills, and that is more so because he is a rookie, not because of who he is as a player. The only way it could be a problem is if Houston gets a two-score lead and forces Buffalo to throw early, abandoning their semblance of balance.

Q: What’s your final score & prediction on how this one will go?

ML — Who would have thought these two teams would be so completely opposite two years after that wild-card game? Houston is unrecognizable, and so is Buffalo, too, as they have built around Allen the passer. Buffalo scores on their opening drive, and the Texans just can’t keep up. This is the game where Mills really gets welcomed to the NFL, and Buffalo gets to 3-1 by dropping the Texans 31-9.

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