If the Buffalo Bills' season wasn't on the line last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, it most certainly is Sunday against the Houston Texans.
As coach Rex Ryan said, the Bills are "out of mulligans," meaning one more loss could lead to a 16th straight season without a trip to the playoff
So there will be plenty of pressure on the Bills, who are back home after three straight road games. Here are all the details you need to know for the 1 p.m. kickoff, plus five things I'll be looking for:
• TV: CBS. Announcers: Spero Dedes (play by play), Solomon Wilcots (color analyst).
• Radio: Bills Radio Network. Buffalo-WGR 550 AM; Toronto-Fan 590 AM; Rochester-WCMF 96.5 FM and WROC 950 AM; Syracuse-WTKW 99.5 FM and WTKV 105.5 FM. Announcers: John Murphy (play by play), Mark Kelso (color analyst).
• Series history: Texans lead, 4-3. Last meeting: Sept. 28, 2014, 23-17 Texans' win in Houston. The Bills are looking to win three games against teams from the AFC South in a single season for the first time in franchise history.
• Milestone watch: Quarterback Tyrod Taylor can set a franchise record for consecutive passes without an interception with his first 10 throws against the Texans. Taylor enters the game with 166 attempts without a pick, and is looking to break the record of 175 set by Drew Bledsoe in 2002.
• Uni watch: The Bills are going with a combination of blue jerseys and white pants against Houston.
• Next up: Running back LeSean McCoy returns to Philadelphia as the Bills visit the Eagles at 1 p.m. Dec. 13.
Once Sunday's game gets started, here are five things I'll be looking for:
1. Jordan Mills vs. J.J. Watt. The Bills aren't expected to have starting right tackle Seantrel Henderson available for the game because of an illness, which means Jordan Mills would start his first game for Buffalo. His welcoming gift is likely to be plenty of matchups with Watt, whom Bills coach Rex Ryan called the best player in the NFL. The Bills need to consistently double-team Watt on Sunday and hope that's enough to slow him down.
2. Bills cornerbacks vs. DeAndre Hopkins. On the other side of the ball, Hopkins is undoubtedly Houston's best player. He's already surpassed 1,o00 receiving yards for the season and is consistently the Texans' leader in targets. His matchup against either Stephon Gilmore or Ronald Darby will be fun to watch. Like with Watt, the Bills need to double-team Hopkins and dare someone else on the Texans' offense to beat them.
3. The Bills' blitz numbers. Quite simply, Buffalo has to send way more pressure at Brian Hoyer than the team did at Alex Smith a week ago. That doesn't always mean by blitzing, but at least giving the Texans the illusion that it's coming would be a start. The Bills' low sack total is one of the most puzzling aspects of the 2015 season to this point.
4. Tyrod Taylor's attempts. As mentioned last week, the Bills are 5-0 when Tyrod Taylor attempts fewer than 30 passes, and they dropped to 0-4 when he throws 30 or more times in a game after the loss in Kansas City. With no Karlos Williams, the pressure will be on LeSean McCoy alone to carry the running game and take the pressure off of Taylor.
5. How will Dan Carpenter respond? The Bills' kicker missed another extra point last week. It's fair to wonder where his confidence is. Can the Bills rely on him to make a pressure kick? They don't have another option as of right now.