Frank Gore already knows that the Buffalo Bills are in the playoffs for just the second time since the 1999 campaign, and they have a very winnable game in the wild card round. They’ll take on the Houston Texans on Saturday.
The game is on the road, so the Bills are underdogs, but I don’t think it would surprise anyone if Buffalo came way with an upset victory.
The Bills have a terrific defense, but their offense leaves quite a bit to be desired.
Buffalo ranked just 24th in the NFL in offense during the regular season and averaged a mere 19.6 points per game, so scoring a lot of points is not exactly the Bills’ forte.
Josh Allen is an interesting young quarterback, but his lack of accuracy and inconsistency makes it so Buffalo can’t really afford to put the game in his hands.
Allen is still very young and has time to grow, but the Bills probably can’t trust him to make a few big-time throws in a playoff game at this point, especially on the road.
That makes Buffalo’s running game all the more imperative in this matchup.
While the Bills are not an explosive offensive unit, they did rank eighth in the league in rushing offense this season, tallying 128.4 rushing yards per game and logging 4.4 yards per carry.
In rookie back Devin Singletary and veteran Frank Gore, Buffalo has quite the tandem in its backfield, and it may need Gore to deliver an impactful performance on Saturday.
Frank Gore rushed for a modest 599 yards during the regular season, registering a rather pedestrian 3.6 yards per attempt.
However, with Singletary having totaled 775 yards on the ground while posting 5.1 yards per tote, all the Bills need is for Gore to represent a solid change-of-pace back against the Texans.
Buffalo is almost surely going to need Gore to move the chains a couple of times (at least) throughout the contest, and it may also need to lean on him in red-zone situations.
Remember: Gore is one of the few experienced veterans on what is an otherwise very young Bills team, so Buffalo will be looking to him to provide leadership and a steady, calming presence throughout the game.
Again, we probably can’t expect the Bills to do much in terms of passing the football.
Yes, Buffalo has a couple of nice receivers in John Brown and Cole Beasley, and Houston’s pass defense ranked just 29th in pass defense during the regular season, but it seems tough to trust Allen in a game of this magnitude.
If the Bills are going to win this game, they are going to have to run the ball effectively, which certainly seems possible against a Texans run defense that ranked 25th in the NFL this season.
That means we’ll see a heavy dose of Singletary and quite a bit of Gore to keep the defense honest.
Who knows? Maybe we’ll see a vintage Gore performance, or perhaps he’ll do just enough to help Buffalo emerge NRG Stadium with the franchise’s first playoff victory in two-and-a-half decades.