Week 1: Bills vs. Texans
The NFL season is here, and there are high hopes for all 32 NFL teams including the Bills and the Houston Texans as they meet in the season opener. The Bills have turned the reigns of the team over to J.P. Losman. He will have the luxury of a power running game, a great defense, and solid special teams units. Optimism runs high in Houston as the Texans finished last year with their best record ever, 7-9.
FACTS AND FIGURES
||Buffalo (0-0) vs. Houston (0-0)
||Ralph Wilson Stadium
||Gus Johnson and Brent Jones
||Bills by 5½
||Series tied 1-1
||Texans 12-10 in Buffalo (2003)
|Hou 2004 Off:
||Rush (12th); Pass (18th); overall (19th)
|Hou 2004 Def:
||Rush (13th); Pass (24th); overall (21st)
|Bills 2004 Off:
||Rush (13th); Pass (26th); overall (25th)
|Bills 2004 Def:
||Rush (7th); Pass (3rd); overall (2nd)
The Bills came out of the preseason relatively healthy. The biggest injury concern entering this game is starting DB Nate Clements. He injured his shoulder in the final preseason game against Detroit on Friday and is probable for the opener. TE Kevin Everett and DB Kevin Thomas start the year on the PUP reserved list. 2nd round pick Roscoe Parrish remains out with a wrist injury suffered during training camp. TE Tim Euhus remains out with a strained pectoral muscle. The Bills have two other minor injuries to players.
For the Texans many players were held out of their final preseason game because of various bumps and bruises. RB Domanick Davis has an elbow bruise while backup Jonathan Wells has a finger injury. CB Dunta Robinson has an ankle injury and OT Zach Wiegert is also slowed with an ankle injury. None of these injuries are considered serious as the Texans have two players listed as questionable and three as probable on the injury report.
Bills Daily Injury Page
LBs London Fletcher and Takeo Spikes vs. RB Domanick Davis:
The two main cogs of the Bills' defense will be very aware of where Davis is on the field. He is a running and receiving threat and if the Bills can slow him down then they will be in good shape.
RT Mike Williams vs. LB Jason Babin:
Williams will have to watch for the edge rushing Babin who is poised for a big year. He may develop into the best player on the Texans defense and will be sent after Losman many times throughout the game.
QB J.P. Losman vs Texans Defense:
Look for Houston to throw a lot of different looks and blitzes to rattle the young QB in his first start. If they succeed it could end up shutting down the running attack and putting the Bills in deep trouble offensively.
WR Lee Evans vs. CB Dunta Robinson:
Evans will be looking to build on his strong rookie season and he draws a tough assignment on opening day. Robinson had six interceptions in his rookie year and added three sacks along with being the team's second leading tackler. He can disrupt what the Bills are trying to do offensively if he isn't humbled early.
RB Willis McGahee vs. NT Seth Payne:
The Bills' offense runs through McGahee, not Losman. That is why he needs a big game for the offense to succeed. Payne is the man in the middle of the Texans' 3-4 defense. If he does a good job of clogging things up, it may be tough going for McGahee.
CB Nate Clements vs. WR Andre Johnson:
This is a matchup to watch. Clements is the Bills best corner and Johnson is the premier receiver for the Texans. If Clements is hampered by his shoulder injury, or doesn't play, then Johnson could have a big game which would open up holes for the running of Davis.
When The Bills Have The Ball: They will unveil their ball control offense by making McGahee the workhorse to keep from getting into third and long situations. If they don't establish a good running attack then the Texans will be able to blitz Losman a lot. Look for the Bills to mix in some long throws to loosen up the Texans defense as they may play eight in the box to stop McGhaee.
When The Texans Have The Ball: They will get the ball into their best offensive weapon as well. Davis is a double threat as he can run and catch the ball. They also have a talented duo at wide receiver in Andre Johnson and Corey Bradford, so Carr may test the Bills talented secondary deep on occasion.
BILLS DAILY PREDICTION
Opening day games are tough to predict and this one is no exception. The Bills have been struggling the past two weeks and it will be interesting to see how quickly Losman gets over his first start nerves. The game is at home, and that should help the young quarterback. The Bills have stressed getting off to a good start after last year's 0-4 beginning. That should get them highly motivated to play well. Look for the Bills to stick to their gameplan and win a tough fought close game with help from their vaunted defense and special teams:
Bills 20, Texans 13
Season Prediction Record: (0-0)
Season Record Against The Spread: (0-0)
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