It is hard to believe we are already in week 12, but here we are with more than half of the season in the books. We have learned a lot so far, and a lot of questions are still remaining at this point. The road to the Super Bowl is still wide open. There are many legitimate teams that have an opportunity at making it to the final game. One thing is for sure, the Colts and Bills won’t be one of those teams. The Colts at 6-4 statistically still have a chance, but it would be a huge task. It isn’t a shot at the Colts, though. With a rookie quarterback coming in to take over a 1 win team a year ago isn’t an easy chore. Nevertheless, Andrew Luck has asserted himself well in this offense and gotten into a rhythm with his new found targets in Indianapolis. This is presumably a team that will be back on the map in a year or two. The Bills however, will continue to struggle to sniff the playoffs as long as the Patriots are in the AFC East. The Bills will take their act on the road to Lucas Oil Stadium for an early afternoon matchup againt the Colts (1:00EST).
The Bills have been a team in flux for a couple seasons now. After several years of missing a reliable quarterback, the Bills gave Ryan Fitzpatrick a big fat contract last season. Time will tell if it was worth it, but he has done an above average job thus far running the offense. In fact, Fitzpatrick has only thrown one interception in his last three games. He has managed games well and let the Bills’ impressive running game dictate games. When he does get the chance against inferior defenses, however, he does like to open things up. For instance, against the Patriots he passed for 337 yards with 2 touchdowns and against the Titans he went for 225 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Bills’ passing game ranks 23rd, but where this team shines is on the ground. A dual attack with Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller has throttled the Bills to 8th best in the NFL, averaging 140.8 yards per game. The offense averages 23 points a game, but like I said, they are capable of putting up monster numbers against a weak defense.
The Colts defense can certainly be lumped into the bad category. They are okay in spots, but as a whole, they need to address it in the offseason. They rank 20th in the NFL in regards to yards allowed per game, which isn’t garbage, but they still allow 26 points a game. Against the run they surrender 119.8 yards per game for 21st in the league, so it is definitely a defense the Bills’ running game can do some damage against. Against the pass they are hovering around the same spot as the rush defense at 20th. So, it easy to see that the Colts do not do anything particularly well on the defensive side of the ball.
There isn’t much to say about the Bills defense that’s for sure, however. In fact, the Bills’ defense is much worse than the Colts. The Bills best hope at winning games is getting into shootouts and hoping the offense carries the load. It was to be assumed that with the arrival of defensive end, Mario Williams, the defense was going to see a big improvement in productivity. That hasn’t come to fruition, as the defense ranks 26th in the NFL, allowing 387.4 yards a game in total. They are very porous against the run, currently in 31st. The Bills also give up 30 points a game which is 3rd last in the NFL.
The Colts’ offense is of course spearheaded by talented rookie quarterback out of Stanford Andrew Luck. Luck has seen an up and down campaign with last week definitely a down week against the Patriots. Luck finished with 334 yards and 2 touchdowns, but threw 3 interceptions with two of those picks going back for touchdowns the other way. Luck still passed for 334 yards and could have done a much better job, but it was a pressure spot for him in his first start in this rivalry. I expect him to make much better decisions this week against the awful Bills’ defense. The Colts’ offense is 5th in the NFL, averaging 393.4 yards a game.
Bills vs. Colts Spread and Betting Odds:
Buffalo Bills +3 (-120)
@Indianapolis Colts -3 (+100)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Bills vs. Colts Pick:
While the Colts got trampled last week against the Patriots, who may be the best team in the NFL. I feel this is a team that is going a little under the radar. Perhaps they were playing over their heads early in the year, but they have made tremendous strides from just a season ago. Luck has propelled them to a solid 6-4 start and within striking distance of a playoff position. Other than Luck, there appears to be some unknowns surrounding him, but that isn’t to say they don’t have talent. Most notably fellow rookie T.Y. Hilton out of FIU who has become a favorite target of Luck’s recently. I think Luck and Hilton will do some damage against the Bills less than prosperous defense. Look for Luck to have a big bounce back week after dishing out three interceptions against the Patriots.
The Bills on the other hand should get their running game running with a purpose this week, which in turn, should give Fitzpatrick plenty of open receivers. The over is 6-0 when the Bills are playing as underdogs of 3 or less points. It is also 10-1 on their last eleven games playing on field turf. With the weather being a nonfactor, I look for this to be a good old fashion shootout under the dome. Take the over and watch the points pile up.
PICK = OVER 51