The regular season is over. Now, it's playoff time.
The Buffalo Bills are gearing up for their AFC Wild Card Round matchup with the Houston Texans on Saturday at NRG Stadium at 4:35 p.m.
While the Bills are back in the playoffs for the second time in three years, the team is looking to break a winless drought in the playoffs that dates back to the 1995 season when they beat the Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card Round at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
While the Texans pose a tough challenge for the Bills this week to open the playoffs, many believe that this game is a very winnable one.
The Bills' strength heading into Saturday's matchup is their top-three defense in the NFL taking on the Houston offense that has been in the middle of the pack for a good portion of the season. However, they unit cannot overlook the skill and playmaking ability of quarterback Deshaun Watson, who can flip the script of a game in a heartbeat with targets like wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, as well as running backs Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde.
Meanwhile, Josh Allen and the Buffalo offense will be facing a Texans defense with some weapons of their own, but a unit that finished the season giving up the fifth-most yards per-game (388.3), and gave up the 14th-most points per-game (24.1). The question will be, can the Bills' offense get to that 24-point threshold and give their defense plenty of room to work with as they defend Watson and company?
However, the Texans will be getting their top defensive weapon back just in time for the postseason run as pass rusher J.J. Watt has been cleared to return from injured reserve after tearing his pectoral muscle back in Week 8. It has already been said that Watt will play, and that he will likely play "quite a bit."
Bills head coach Sean McDermott will be coaching in his second playoff game in Buffalo in three years, but has plenty of experience in the playoffs while coaching as an assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers. These situations are nothing new for McDermott, and he will be ready for whatever is thrown at him and his staff this week on the road in Houston.
McDermott took the time on Thursday to join Howard Simon and Jeremy White for his weekly appearance on WGR during the football season.
Here is some of what he had to say:
"The speed changes, the intensity changes, the physicality changes. It's a one-game season, so certainly just the impact of the game brings about some changes as it relates to the ingredients of the game. Overall, we try to keep it as consistent in our approach as much as possible through the week here."
"[We need to] remember who we are, remember how we've done things. What typically wins in the regular season is what typically wins in the playoffs and in the Super Bowl in my experience. So that's the important part for our young football team is that we keep our process in tact this week and as we zero in on the last couple of days before kickoff."
"It's to trust his teammates, trust the people around him to do their job, and then within that the game will come to him. And he'll know it, he'll feel it. That's what the elite performers that I've been around in my career - that's what they do best is when they can tell when the game is coming to them, and then they strike when they feel and see the opportunity."
"He's a headache to handle. He really is. There's only so much you can do. You try and scheme to manage him as best as you can, but I don't think you're able to stop a guy like that. He's going to make his plays and we have to understand that going into the game... We have to go down there and do what we do - play with great fundamentals, a great sense of urgency and a high level of execution."
"It would just be great for our entire organization, our fanbase. That's the first people that I think about and everyone that's been here for so long and everyone who's rooted for this team for so long. It's the most loyal and passionate fanbase I've ever been around, and I've been around some good ones. To me, for [general manager] Brandon [Beane] and myself, and I don't want to put words into Brandon's mouth here, but just joining the situation in the last two-and-a-half years, at this point, I would just feel and think about the people that have been around here for so long and feel good for them more than anything."
You can listen to the entire interview below: