Here are my three thoughts on the Buffalo Bills as they go through their next-to-last day of preparation for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans:
1. It's a scary thought. J.J. Watt, the best defensive player in the NFL (if not the best player, period), going up against Jordan Mills, who would be making his first start with the Bills after being picked up from Detroit's practice squad? That appears to be the case with starting right tackle Seantrel Henderson looking as if he will miss the game with an illness. Watt thrives on such matchups. He's able to capitalize on even the tiniest mistakes by opposing offensive linemen. And it's reasonable to expect that Mills, who hasn't started since he was with Chicago last season, will make some. Additionally, the Bills will probably have Kraig Urbik at right guard, in place of injured rookie John Miller. Two backups starting on the right side of the line? Not a really good time for that, to say the least.
2. The defensive line has to change the narrative of its troubling story of injuries, discomfort with a new scheme, disgust with dropping into coverage (or just retreating from fatigue). That's just not a good look for this highly paid group. And Sunday is when the Bills' D-linemen need to make a statement. They simply can't allow themselves to be beaten by Brian Hoyer, who, at best, is a journeyman quarterback. Hoyer is the same guy who came into The Ralph with the Cleveland Browns last season and threw two interceptions before being replaced by Johnny Manziel. Hoyer is capable of doing some damage with a highly talented receiver in DeAndre Hopkins. But it's up to Mario Williams (due back from a foot injury) and Marcell Dareus (who was too "woozy" to recall what fully went wrong at Kansas City last Sunday because he was playing extra snaps with injured Kyle Williams missing) and Jerry Hughes and Corbin Bryant to make sure Hoyer isn't the main reason the Texans win their fifth game in a row.
3. If Tyrod Taylor is, in fact, going to be the Bills' long-term answer at quarterback, his performance Sunday will go a long way toward determining as much. He should, for all intents and purposes, be the best quarterback on the field. And he absolutely has to play that way. No more inconsistency. No more perfectly placed touchdown passes in one half followed by mind-boggling misfires in the other. Taylor has to play at a high level from start to finish, as he has done occasionally (but not nearly enough) this season. Now, with the season on the line, he doesn't have any choice but to make that happen.