When the Indianapolis Colts march into Buffalo to play the Bills at Bills Stadium on Saturday at 1:05 pm, it will be a battle of offence versus defence.
Not only that, but there are two very important storylines heading into this game.
For starters, the Bills have not won a playoff game since 1995 — a drought of 26 years. Should they walk away from the game victorious, there is no telling what the Bills Mafia will do in celebration.
On the Colts side, veteran Philip Rivers is getting closer and closer to playing his last NFL game. If this truly is his last season, you know the Colts are going to do anything they can to help Rivers finally hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy.
According to BetOnline, the Bills are the favorites to win this matchup with a moneyline of -300. The Colts’ moneyline is +250, with a pointspread of +6.5. The over/under for the game is 52.
See BetOnline for updated lines and odds.
Colts need to play a full 60-minute game
Over their last two games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars, the Colts have started having a bad habit of building up a large lead early on, only to take the foot off the gas and let the other team back into the game.
They still beat the Jaguars in Week 17 to punch their ticket into the playoffs, but they weren’t that lucky with the Steelers in the previous week. If they play that way against the Bills, it’s going to be ugly.
With that being said, the Colts did have one of the better defences in the NFL this season. While they allowed an average of 332.1 yards (8th) and 22.6 points (10th) per game this season, the area where they really excelled was at rushing defence, where they allowed 90.5 rushing yards per game — second-best in the league.
It goes without saying that the offence has been more of a problem with the Colts at times.
Rivers is never going to put up Aaron Rodgers or Patrick Mahomes-like performance, so the Colts are going to need the offence to play up to their quarterback’s strengths. One way of doing this could be by building on Jonathan Taylor’s franchise-best 253 rushing yard performance that he had against the Jaguars.
If the offensive line can open up space for Taylor to have a game even half as good as last week’s, Rivers may find some holes to exploit a Bills passing defence.
Can the Bills offence be sustained in the playoffs?
One of the biggest storylines for the Bills this season is how electric their offence has looked.
After all, they’ve scored 38 or more points across their last three games.
When Stefon Diggs joined the Bills before the season, it became clear that he was going to be their #1 receiving option and he did not disappoint. Diggs posted up 127 catches for 1,535 yards (both were career highs) and eight touchdowns.
Josh Allen also stepped up and had a career year, throwing for a career-high in yards (4,544), touchdowns (37) and competition percentage (69.%).
Allen was also productive in the rushing department as he ran for 421 yards and eight touchdowns.
With performances like this, it’s no surprise that the Bills averaged the second-most points (31.3) and total yards (396.4) per game across the league. If the Bills want to expect to have postseason success, they’re going to need to continue producing those numbers against the Colts.
The Colts are one of the best teams when it comes to stopping the run, so Allen may have to rely on getting the job done through the air rather than on the ground. It’s going to be tough, but Bills do have the talent to get the job done.
This will be the first time that the Bills and Colts have met in the playoffs.
One thing to keep an eye on is how hot the Bills have been lately. They have won nine of their last 10 games, including their last six straight. They have also only scored under 24 points once this season and that was back in Week 7. No matter how good the Colts defence is, it may be easier said than done to stop the Bills from scoring.
On the other hand, while they’re seen as a defensive team, the Colts have scored 24 or more points in eight straight games. They may be able to keep up with the Bills’ offence but only to an extent. That’s why it’s going to be extremely important for their defence to play as stingy as possible.