Week 12: Buffalo Bills At Indianapolis Colts
- QuarterbackRyan 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.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.
- OffenseChan 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.
- DefenseThe 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.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 TeamsThe 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.
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.