Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson, Josh Allen Wild Card matchup will be exciting
The Wild Card game between the Houston Texans and the Buffalo Bills will have an exciting quarterback matchup.
The No. 4 Houston Texans and the No. 5 Buffalo Bills should give their respective fan bases an exciting and competitive game on Saturday (ESPN, 3:45 p.m.), as the two teams have 10-6 overall records and have two exciting young quarterbacks to watch as well.
Buffalo brings Josh Allen under center for the Wild Card game — his playoff debut — and for his 2019 season, the improvement has been seen greatly by the second-year quarterback.
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Allen this season has 20 touchdown passes with just nine interceptions (461 attempts) and has been sacked 38 times this season. Allen has also rushed for 510 yards (4.7 yards per carry) and nine touchdowns. Allen is averaging 193.1 yards passing per game this season, which is 20.3 ypg better than his rookie year.
Allen has passed for 250-plus yards in four games this season and over 200 yards in nine games for the Bills in ’19.
Texans head coach Bill O’Brien spoke about Allen this week during a Monday press conference with comments provided by the Texans media department:
"“He’s just playing really well. He makes good decisions with the ball. He’s very well coached. Brian Daboll does a good job with him. He knows how to run their offense. He knows what’s expected of him. He can run. He’s a very athletic guy, he’s got good speed. I think he has 3,000 yards passing and 500 yards rushing, so this is a guy that is a very dangerous guy, so we have to do a good job.”"
In his lone start against the Texans as a rookie last season (2018), Allen was 10-of-17 for 84 yards with no touchdowns or interception, but he was sacked twice. That game, Watson was 15-of-25 for 177 yards passing with one touchdown and two interceptions. Watson also rushed twice for two yards.
Speaking of Watson, this season has been another excellent showcase of his skills thus far. In the ’19 regular season, Watson in 15 games played has completed 67.3 percent of his passes for 3,852 yards with 26 touchdowns and 12 interception in his third NFL season. Watson has been sacked 44 times, and he’s rushed the ball 82 times this season for 413 yards and seven touchdowns.
In team categories, the Texans have the better-ranked offense this season at 13th, while the Bills are 24th, but the defense of the Bills is ranked as the third best in the league, whereas the Texans are 28th overall in the NFL.
Passing has the Texans at 15th in the NFL, with the Bills at 26th, and the rushing rankings of both teams are similar with the Bills eighth and the Texans coming in at ninth.
All of those aforementioned numbers matter to a certain degree, but this is the “second season,” and for the Watson-led Texans, the offense not only has to play at a high level, but they can’t afford to have a slow start as that was the case in last year’s playoff game.
O’Brien said this is a different Texans team than what we all witnessed last season, as he said the following in a press conference this week:
"“I think we’re a much different team. I think we’re a much different team. I think that this team – every year is different. I think every year is different. I think that any time you play in a game like that, obviously that’s part of your memory, but at the end of the day, this is a very different team, a whole different year. We’re playing a totally different opponent. So, it’s a lot different. I think it’s just a different year.”"
O’Brien is right, this is a much different year with there being much improvement compared to a year ago with certain aspects from this team. That said, they still make too many mistakes early on, and the Texans don’t want to have to play from behind against a team like Buffalo, especially with their defense.
The plus for the Texans in the Watson vs. Allen battle is Watson has some playoff experience, and to be honest, this team has to have a chip on their shoulder for not only losing in the playoffs the way they did last year, but also they don’t seem respected by many in the national media.
The Texans have a great shot to make some noise in the AFC Playoffs this year if Watson is clicking on all cylinders, plus everyone else on the team steps up and does what they are supposed to do.
If the Texans don’t, it will be a repeat of last year, but if the Texans play like they did against the New England Patriots or the Kansas City Chiefs this year, then they will show everyone how good they and Watson really are.