TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 12: Buffalo Bills At Indianapolis Colts

Bills
Colts
Philadelphia Eagles v Buffalo Bills
Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers
Quarterback
Ryan Fitzpatrick is a decent quarterback and another team, he might be good enough to lead them to the playoffs. But the Bills rarely compete on the defensive end and Fitzpatrick is not skilled enough to overcome that. However, he is an accurate short-to-medium range passer, reads defenses well and can evade the rush with his quick feet.
Winner The Colts have gotten tremendous production from Andrew Luck, who is on track for the best rookie season ever by any quarterback. Luck clearly has a bright future, but he has somehow given his team a chance to have a winning season. He has a powerful arm and a very quick release, but his ability to understand how the defense is going to try to get him off stride is probably his greatest gift.
Offense
Winner Chan Gailey knows he can count on his running game to eat up significant chunks of yardage. While Fred Jackson has been ordinary this year – just under 300 rushing yards – C. J.Spiller has been explosive with 798 yards and a shocking 6.6 yards per carry. Wide receiver Stevie Johnson can make big plays against solid coverage, but he can also disappear.
Reggie Wayne has had a tremendous season and that means he has been a security blanket for Luck. He knows he can get the ball to Wayne any time he needs to convert a third down. Wayne is resurgent this year and his outstanding work has taken the pressure off of receivers Donnie Avery and T.Y. Hilton. Running back Donald Brown is not a gamebreaker, but he runs hard and must be respected.
Defense
The Bills had a nice bounce back game from their defense in the Week 11 win over the Dolphins. However, their defense has been very weak overall. The Bills seem to lack the will to hang in there when they face a big-time offensive opponent who can light up the scoreboard. They also don’t get enough of a pass rush and that means defensive end Mario Williams (5.5 sacks) must turn it up.
Winner While nearly all the focus has been on Luck and the offense, the defense has played with speed and effort. The overall effort has been respectable this season, particularly when it comes to defending against the pass. Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman is a solid tackler who is normally in the right position. The Colts have a chance when defensive ends Robert Mathis (6.0 sacks) is on his game.
Special Teams
Winner The Bills have gotten consistent play from their special teams coverage units. Leodis McKelvin will most likely earn Pro Bowl status with his two punt returns for scores while kick returner Brad Smith also has a touchdown. Placekicker Rian Lindell has made 13-of-14 FG attempts, but he has not tried any attempt of 50 yards or longer.
The Colts have not often had the best of it on special teams this season. Opponents have a slight edge on punt returns and are overwhelming the Colts on kickoff returns. Hilton has explosive speed, but he has not had a punt return longer than 14 yards. PK Adam Vinatieri is no longer a sure thing at this point in his career.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

Philadelphia Eagles v Buffalo Bills Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers

The Colts are a competitive team and they play their best football at home. Luck is a great talent who someday will be one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He could have a big day against a Buffalo defense that has been among the most generous in the league.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 22:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons looks to pass against the Green Bay Packers during the first quarter in the NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome on January 22, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws a pass during the second half against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Super Bowl LI Tale Of The Tape: Atlanta Falcons vs. New England Patriots

    The Patriots and Falcons meet in Houston in a battle of the league’s number 1 scoring offense and number 1 scoring defense.

  2. KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks to throw a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks to pass in the second half against the Houston Texans during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Conference Championship Tale: Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

    The Steelers and Patriots meet in Foxboro for the right to go to Super Bowl LI in Houston.

  3. ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons drops back to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the game at the Georgia Dome on January 14, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Conference Championship Tale: Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons

    Two MVP candidates at quarterback meet up in Atlanta for the right to go to Super Bowl LI in Houston.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Pittsburgh

New Podcast Network
Get The All New CBS Local App
Get KDKA Text Alerts

Listen Live