Vandermeer's View: Playoff pulse

Every team wants to be playing this month. Only 12 get the chance. And once again, the Texans are here. It's a privilege they earned, navigating their way through a tough schedule that looked daunting going in and playing out to be as difficult as advertised.

None of that matters now. It's a new year and a new season. Records are irrelevant. The best performance punches a ticket to next week.

I've often said the intensity of each NFL Sunday feels like the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament. That's true because each game means so much and there are numerous dramatic finishes on any given Sunday.

Now the stakes change. It really is a 'win or go home' scenario and everyone plays like it.

In the offseason, when the rookies are getting NFL-baptized, everyone talks about the speed of the pro game compared to college. Then, when we transition from the preseason to regular season, the speed differential topic comes up again. Well, with the playoffs here, that word has come into play once more.

The players and coaches say the increase in the speed of the game in the postseason is obvious. And it makes sense. There is no tomorrow and no one wants to go on vacation early.

It's going to take a great effort to beat Buffalo. The Bills have been an extremely tough assignment for everyone who has played them. They lost six games, five of them by one score.

They are never out of a game. Usually you make that statement because of a high-flying offense. And, make no mistake, the Bills have tools on offense to do plenty of damage. But it's their defense that has the ability to bring opponents' momentum to a screeching halt.

Every game they play feels like a meat grinder. Their 2019 resume is peppered with hard-hitting, low-scoring, earth-shaking battles. They've given up more than 24 points only once. They keep things close.

Fortunately, the Texans are used to tight, gut-check games. Their recent wins against Tampa Bay, Tennessee, New England and the Colts provide great examples of having to make pivotal fourth quarter plays to come out on top.

You never know how things will play out. But this could certainly be one of those games where a big stop or a big first down late is the difference. In order to even get to that point, the Texans will have to be at their best throughout.

It's the NFL playoffs. There's nothing like it. Let's watch, support, cheer and see if this team can propel itself into next weekend. Check out the game at 3:35 on ABC-13 and Sports Radio 610 and The Bull 100.3 FM.

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