PFF Preview: Bills @ Texans, Week 4
After starting the season strong, both the Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans faltered in Week 3. The Bills have a solid roster that can win so long as E.J. Manuel isn’t forced to carry the load. That’s something he had to do in a loss to the Chargers where Manual dropped back 47 times. Buffalo has the backfield talent in C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson to hold a lead, but if they’re forced to mount a comeback as they were last week, the outlook isn’t as bright.
Should the Bills fall behind early in Houston, they may stand a chance to come back. With a QB rating of just 43.4 when under pressure, Manuel may be able to avoid duress on Sunday. With both Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus generating a meager eight pressures each, J.J. Watt has been the only serious pass rushing threat for the Texans’ defense. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph, however, is back to his best after ending 2013 on injured reserve, earning a +4.0 coverage grade for his work this year.
In a similar vein to Buffalo, Houston was let down last week by lackluster quarterback play, with Ryan Fitzpatrick struggling (-3.2) despite having one of the scariest wide receiver duos anywhere. The potential return of Arian Foster may help alleviate the burden on Fitzpatrick, but if he’s forced to sit out again, Houston once again may have to rely on Fitzpatrick’s right arm.
A Week 4 win for either club will go a long way toward proving that the early season improvements that they have made are are more than just a fluke. Even an adequate day by either team’s passer may be enough to let the rest of the talent shine through and earn the “W”, especially if the opposition’s signal caller falters
Here are some other things to keep an eye on in this match-up:
Fred Jackson – Jackson has both a perfect Pass Blocking Efficiency of 100.0 and a perfect Drop Rate of 0.0.
Kyle Williams – Williams leads all defensive tackles with a +10.7 overall grade, largely in part to his 15 total quarterback pressures.
Corey Graham – Quarterbacks targeting Graham have a QB rating of just 28.5 this season. He has six pass defenses and a league-leading +6.0 coverage grade.
DeAndre Hopkins – When throwing in his direction, Fitzpatrick has a QB Rating of 118.2, even though he’s thrown two picks on those throws.
J.J. Watt – Watt leads all 3-4 defensive ends with a Pass Rushing Productivity of 12.9. His 17 pressures are also tops at the position.
Kendrick Lewis – Into his primary coverage, Lewis has allowed just three catches for 11 yards. He has four defensive stops in pass defense.
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