In week 14, the Indianapolis Colts will travel to New Era Field to take on the Buffalo Bills. Both teams lost their week 13 matchups, with the Colts losing 30-10 to the Jaguars, and the Bills losing 23-3 to the Patriots. Both teams are also on cold streaks and have a 1-4 record in their past five games, with the Colts last win coming against the Houston Texans in week 9, and the Bills last win coming against the Kansas City Chiefs in week 12. The struggling Colts have a 3-9 record and are in last place in the AFC South. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills have a 6-6 record and are second in the AFC East behind the New England Patriots. At this point, the Colts have nothing to play for, while the Bills still have a chance of making the playoffs if they finish the season strong.
The last matchup between these two teams took place September 13th, 2015, when the Bills defeated the Colts 27-13. However, both teams look very different now than they did back then, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The Colts are missing star quarterback Andrew Luck, and now have Jacoby Brissett under center. Meanwhile, the Bills leading rusher in the 2015 matchup was Karlos Williams, who is currently a free agent, and their leading receiver was Percy Harvin, who is now retired from football.
For the Bills, there is uncertainty about Tyrod Taylor’s status for this game after suffering a patellar tendon contusion last week against the Patriots. If he is unable to play, the Bills have not yet announced whether Nathan Peterman would get another shot at quarterback or if the team would turn to someone else such as Joe Webb. The absence of Taylor would really hurt the Bills chances in this game as Peterman has not yet had a good outing in his professional career, and Joe Webb has shown nothing since entering the league in 2010. Kelvin Benjamin may also make his return this week, which would help out whichever quarterback ends up starting for the Bills this week. Even if Taylor is healthy and plays against the Colts, LeSean McCoy figures to be actively involved in this game both as a rusher and as a receiver. If Taylor’s mobility is limited because of his injury, he will have to release the ball quickly which means McCoy will see many short passes and screen passes coming his way. If another Peterman or another quarterback is used, the Bills would likely be reluctant to throw the ball frequently, which would result in many carries for McCoy.
The Colts will roll Brissett out at quarterback and hope he can be more productive than he has been the past few weeks. Brissett is not entirely at fault for his struggles because the offensive line has not been great at giving him time in the pocket, especially when starting center Ryan Kelly is injured. If Kelly is unable to suit up this week, the pass protection and run protection will likely struggle more than usual. Brissett should aim to get the ball into T.Y. Hilton‘s hands as much as possible because he is the best playmaker on the offense, even if this requires Hilton to run mostly short routes. Since the Colts season is all but over, Marlon Mack should begin to see more touches than Frank Gore so the Colts can groom him into their running back of the future. Starting Cornerback Pierre Desir and starting outside linebacker John Simon were both placed on injured reserve following last weeks loss, which further weakens an already injury depleted defense that will likely struggle to contain McCoy.
Score Prediction: The Buffalo Bills defeat the Indianapolis Colts 29-16.