The Bills opened the 2021 NFL season with a bit of a clunker, falling 23-16 to a Steelers team that now looks nearly incapable of mounting an offensive attack. Since then, however, they've quickly returned to AFC title game form, with Josh Allen racking up the big plays and Buffalo outscoring opponents 78-21 during a two-game win streak. On Sunday, they'll get a chance to make it three straight and bolster their standing as AFC East front-runners, with only rookie quarterback Davis Mills and the ailing Texans in their way.
Houston was briefly competitive during its last outing against Carolina, with Mills actually faring well in his first NFL start. But the Texans are widely considered finalists for a top draft pick more than a potential playoff run. Do they have enough in them to surprise the Bills, especially coming off extra rest? Or is Buffalo destined to keep cruising on a conceivable path to 3-1?
We've got you covered below with odds, predictions, key questions, information on how to watch, and more.
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
How to watch
- What will the Texans ask of Davis Mills? Despite the rookie showcasing pocket movement and arm talent against the Panthers, Houston insisted on pounding it with the trio of Mark Ingram, David Johnson and Phillip Lindsay. The Bills, meanwhile, are stout against both the run and pass, so there's potential for things to get ugly.
- Can the Bills erase Brandin Cooks? With Tre'Davious White, they have a chance, and if so, that might be the end of Houston's offense. Cooks has 32 targets to lead the Texans; the next-best receiver has nine. He is their passing game. If the Bills can take that away, they can put a bow on this one early.
- Can the Texans get push up front? Early in their last outing, the Texans took advantage of the Panthers' O-line to keep Sam Darnold on his toes. Buffalo fared really well against Washington's supposedly dominant front, but if they slip up, Houston could at least keep pressure on Allen.
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The Texans may have a little something in Mills, whose physical tools flashed in limited opportunities against the Panthers in Week 3. But they don't have much else. With a crowded but mediocre backfield, no clear weapon outside of Cooks and a coaching staff presently trying to survive Tyrod Taylor's absence, they sorely lack the firepower needed to keep up with a team like the Bills.
Maybe Buffalo slips up by taking things too easily out of the gate, but even then, Allen has both the athleticism and weaponry to score in a hurry. Throw in the fact the Bills have looked improved as both a run and pass defense under Sean McDermott this year, and nothing bodes well for the visitors. There's a reason this game has a 16.5-point line.
Pick: Bills 34, Texans 16
Check out CBSSports.com for even more predictions on this game and the rest of Week 4.