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The Bills look far too solid on offense and defense for these Colts to handle, even with the helpful points.
Bills -7 (-106)
|Colts vs Bills Information|
|What||Indianapolis Colts vs Buffalo Bills|
|Where||Bills Stadium in Orchard Park, NY|
|When||Saturday, January 9, 2020; 1:05 PM ET|
|How to watch||CBS|
Give HC Frank Reich and QB Philip Rivers their due respect for getting the 11-5 Indianapolis Colts this far, though the team with the 10th ranked offense and the 8th ranked defense has looked a bit lackluster the last few weeks of the regular season, so it comes down to how well they can step for the postseason against these talented Bills.
The 13-3 Buffalo Bills embarrassed the Miami Dolphins in Week 17, final score 56-26, averaging almost 48 points per game in their final three matchups, with QB Josh Allen developing just fine to the National Football League level, so long as he can lead them further than the Wild Card round this time, something he and the Bills failed to do last postseason.
These two AFC franchises have met each other 70 previous times, with the Buffalo Bills winning 37 of those games and the Indianapolis Colts winning 32 of the games, plus they have also tied once.
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The Indianapolis Colts needed a veteran QB last offseason, and newly freed agent Philip Rivers needed a new football franchise to believe in him, the 39-year old hurler with zero Super Bowl appearances despite having led his prior team, the Chargers, to the playoffs six total times, including the AFC Championship Game.
In the league since 2004, Rivers is known for playing in every game in every season since he began starting under center in 2006 with the Chargers, and now the 8x Pro Bowler has the chance with the Colts to earn that ever-elusive Super Bowl ring, his team a top-ten squad on both sides of the ball.
To outscore the Bills, the Colts’ defense must put pressure on their young QB Josh Allen and figure out a way to keep him off the field, which could be done if RB Jonathan Taylor has a big game (see below), something that he is in the habit of doing these days, but a victory on Saturday lies squarely on the shoulders of veteran Rivers, who is long overdue for some postseason joy.
The Bills have won their last six games and have been victorious in nine of their last ten matchups, meaning they have gotten used to winning and their young QB Josh Allen is no longer having to learn so many new things, his passing offense ranked third most productive at the end of the season after averaging almost 290 offensive yards per game.
The Bills have averaged over 31 points per game this season, and their defense only allows about 23 points per outing, so if all goes according to plan, HC Sean McDermott’s group should be able to spar equally with these multi-talented Colts.
A big game on the defensive side of the ball will go a long way against a slower veteran QB like Philip Rivers, so expect a big game from the Bills D-line, especially from quarterback hungry ends Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison.
For the Colts to have any chance of outscoring these Bills, they have to stay on the field for a while so that Buffalo doesn’t, and the key to getting that done lies in the strong legs of Indy rookie RB Jonathan Taylor, the former Wisconsin Badger now in his first-ever NFL playoffs.
In his freshman season, Taylor has been more than impressive, playing in fifteen games and posting 232 carries for 1,169 yards and 11 touchdowns on top of catching 36 balls for 299 yards and another touchdown, averaging 5.5 yards per touch.
The Bills are 17th against the run, so Taylor might take advantage of that and become a force to be game-planned around from out of the backfield, and that will require some decent strategy from HC Frank Reich and OC Nick Sirianni, something they are more than comfortable doing.
Now in his second NFL season, Bills’ tight end Dawson Knox is gradually establishing himself as a reliable target for QB Allen, especially in the check down the role.
This season, in addition, to run and pass blocking, Knox has caught 24 balls for 288 yards and 3 touchdowns, numbers that most likely would have been greater had he played in more than 12 games due to a calf injury and being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Having a big game in the playoffs and helping Buffalo get past the Wild Card round will solidify Knox as a key part of this Bills offense.
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