2018 Colts Preview: Colts/Bills, Week 7

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts (1-5) host the Buffalo Bills (2-4) this Sunday in a rematch from last year’s Week 14 “Snow Bowl.”

Both teams are dealing with some high-profile injuries that have them relying on the “next man up.” Let’s take a look at this week’s matchup.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

  • Sunday, Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. ET
  • Indianapolis; Lucas Oil Stadium
  • TV: CBS — Spero Dedes (play-by-play) and Adam Archuleta (color)
  • To find out what games will be on in your area, check here
  • Radio: WFNI “1070 The Fan” and WLHK “HANK FM” — Matt Taylor (play-by-play), Jim Sorgi (color) and Barry Krauss (sideline)

ALL-TIME SERIES

  • Bills lead, 31-37-1. The Colts are 1-0 against the Bills at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Bills have won three of the last four dating back to 2010.
  • Last game — Week 14 of 2017. The Bills won, 13-7.

COACHING STAFF

Colts:

  • HC Frank Reich
  • OC Nick Sirianni
  • DC Matt Eberflus
  • STC Bubba Ventrone

Bills:

  • HC Sean McDermott
  • OC Brian Daboll
  • DC Leslie Frazier
  • STC Danny Crossman

LAST WEEK

Colts:

  • Lost vs. New York Jets (3-3), 42-34 (away)

Bills:

  • Lost vs. Houston Texans (3-3), 20-13 (away)

INJURY UPDATE

Colts:

  • DL Denico Autry (hamstring): OUT — did not practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
  • TE Jack Doyle (hip): OUT — did not practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
  • S Clayton Geathers (concussion/neck): OUT — full participant Wednesday, did not practice Thursday
  • WR Ryan Grant (ankle): OUT — did not practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
  • CB Arthur Maulet (hip): QUESTIONABLE — did not practice Wednesday, limited participant Thursday and Friday
  • CB Chris Milton (hamstring): QUESTIONABLE — limited participant Thursday, full participant Friday
  • TE Erik Swoope (knee): QUESTIONABLE — limited participant Wednesday, did not practice Thursday, limited participant Friday
  • RB Robert Turbin (shoulder): OUT — did not practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Bills:

  • QB Josh Allen (right elbow): OUT — did not practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
  • RB Taiwan Jones (neck): OUT — did not practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

STORYLINES/THINGS TO WATCH

  • Injuries And Corresponding Moves — The Colts are without a handful of starters on Sunday, meaning we may see some practice squad players called up to fill in for depth purposes. Particularly at wide receiver, T.Y. Hilton is back, but Ryan Grant is out, leaving Hilton, Chester Rogers, Zach Pascal and Dontrelle Inman as the team’s only healthy receivers on the active roster. Do we see Reece Fountain, Steve Ishmael or Krishawn Hogan called up from the practice squad?
  • QB Derek Anderson Starts For Bills — With Josh Allen out, the veteran Anderson goes under center for Buffalo ahead of Nathan Peterman. Anderson has only started four games since 2011 and was signed less than two weeks ago, so there should be some rust. That may mean a heavy dose of Bills running back LeSean McCoy for the Colts' defense.
  • Taking Advantage Of The Bills’ Offensive Line — The Bills’ offensive line has seen quite a bit of change this offseason, as Cordy Glenn, Seantrel Henderson, Richie Incognito and Eric Wood are now all no longer on the team. Through six games, the Bills have given up the third-most sacks (24) and 13th-most QB hits (37). The run game is also suffering, as they rank 20th (99.5 YPG). In recent seasons, they’ve been among the best rushing offenses, but they’ve failed to replicate that this year.
  • Do The Colts Get Off To A Fast Start? — In the last three games, the Colts have fallen behind and faced deficits of at least three scores. Because of this, they have not had time to establish the run game and have had to focus on passing the ball to get back into it. If the Colts can establish an early lead like they did in their first three games then they can put together a whole team effort where they play solid football for 60 minutes.
  • Cohesion On The Colts’ Offensive Line? — According to Colts head coach Frank Reich, the plan is to use the same starting five as they did last week: Anthony Castonzo (LT), Quenton Nelson (LG), Ryan Kelly (C), Mark Glowinski (RG) and Braden Smith (RT). While this lineup isn’t the one anyone would’ve thought it would be when the season started, they played well last week and get a chance to do it again this week. The Bills’ front seven is a very active unit that could pose some problems for the Colts’ front. Buffalo ranks fifth in sacks (19) and eighth in run defense (92.5 YPG).

INTRIGUING MATCHUPS

  • Colts WR T.Y. Hilton vs. Bills CB Tre'Davious White — With Hilton likely back in the lineup, it gives the Colts their most dangerous receiver back. However, White has been shadowing some opponents' No. 1 receivers and has done a quality job in doing so. Hilton is one of the league's top big-play receivers, and White is a budding shutdown corner.
  • Colts LT Anthony Castonzo vs. Bills DE Jerry Hughes — It’s a battle of consecutive Colts first-round picks, as former Colts 2010 first-rounder Hughes goes against their 2011 first-rounder in Castonzo. Hughes leads the Bills in sacks (4.5) but has never had a sack against the Colts. Castonzo will be the primary blocker hoping to keep that the case on Sunday.
  • Colts OG Quenton Nelson vs. Bills DT Kyle Williams — It seems like every week, the rookie Nelson has a tough challenge in front of him — it’s why the Colts drafted him — and this week is no different. Nelson gets the crafty, 35-year-old veteran Williams this week. As someone who relies a lot on technique at this point in their career, Williams may give Nelson a couple things he’s never seen before.
  • Colts CB Pierre Desir vs. Bills WR Kelvin Benjamin — We should see this matchup quite a bit on Sunday, and it pits Buffalo’s lengthiest receiver against the Colts’ longest corner. If Anderson goes back shoulder to Benjamin or tries to throw him any jump balls in the end zone, Desir has the length and athleticism to challenge him.

REFEREE ASSIGNMENT

BETTING LINE

LEADERS

Colts:

  • Passing — QB Andrew Luck (1,792 yards)
  • Rushing — RB Jordan Wilkins (175 yards)
  • Receiving — TE Eric Ebron (326 yards)
  • Touchdowns — TE Eric Ebron (6)
  • Tackles — LB Darius Leonard (62)
  • Sacks — DL Margus Hunt, LB Darius Leonard (4.0)
  • Interceptions — CB Pierre Desir, S Matthias Farley, LB Najee Goode, S Malik Hooker, CB Kenny Moore II, Anthony Walker (1)

Bills:

  • Passing — QB Josh Allen (832 yards)
  • Rushing — RB LeSean McCoy (243 yards)
  • Receiving — WR Zay Jones (199 yards)
  • Touchdowns — QB Josh Allen (3)
  • Tackles — LB Tremaine Edmunds (47)
  • Sacks — DE Jerry Hughes (4.5)
  • Interceptions — S Jordan Poyer (2)

COMPARING 2018 STATS

Colts:

  • Total offense — 17th (369.2 YPG)
  • Scoring offense — 13th (25.3 PPG)
  • Passing offense — 10th (286.0 YPG)
  • Running offense — 30th (83.2 YPG)
  • Third down offense — 1st (49%)
  • Red zone offense — 10th (62.5%)
  • Total defense — 25th (386.8 YPG)
  • Scoring defense — 30th (30.0 PPG)
  • Passing defense — 26th (280.0 YPG)
  • Sacks — 5th (19)
  • Running defense — 8th (92.5 YPG)
  • Third down defense — 26th (44%)
  • Red zone defense — 11th (47.8%)
  • Time of possession — 31st (27:26)
  • Turnover margin — 26th (-3)

Bills:

  • Total offense — 31st (222.5 YPG)
  • Scoring offense — 32nd (12.7 PPG)
  • Passing offense — 32nd (123.0 YPG)
  • Running offense — 20th (99.5 YPG)
  • Third down offense — 31st (28%)
  • Red zone offense — 23rd (50.0%)
  • Total defense — 3rd (311.7 YPG)
  • Scoring defense — 12th (23.0 PPG)
  • Passing defense — 6th (219.2 YPG)
  • Sacks — 5th (19)
  • Running defense — 16th (106.8 YPG)
  • Third down defense — 21st (42%)
  • Red zone defense — 27th (68.4%)
  • Time of possession — 20th (29:57)
  • Turnover margin — 15th (+1)

NOTES AND QUOTES

  • This week, the Colts made the following moves: signed free agent wide receiver Dontrelle Inman, signed wide receiver Krishawn Hogan, offensive guard Zack Golditch linebacker Skai Moore and cornerback D.J. Killings to the practice squad, released quarterback Phillip Walker, wide receiver K.J. Brent and offensive guard Sean Harlow from the practice squad and placed wide receiver Marcus Johnson on injured reserve.
  • The Colts need one win to register 300 in the Indianapolis era. They would be just the 12th team to meet that mark since they moved to Indianapolis in 1984.
  • Quarterback Andrew Luck needs to throw one touchdown Sunday to tie Dan Marino, Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan (30) for the eighth-longest consecutive streak of games with a touchdown pass in NFL history. With one touchdown pass, Luck will also pass Bert Jones (68) for the third-most most games with a touchdown pass in franchise history. Luck needs one touchdown run to pass Jones (14) for the second-most among quarterbacks in franchise history.
  • Hilton needs one 150-yard receiving game to tie Marvin Harrison (11) for the most in franchise history. Hilton also needs two receiving touchdowns to tie John Mackey (38) for the eighth-most in franchise history.
  • Kicker Adam Vinatieri needs 10 points to pass Morten Andersen (2,544) for the most points in NFL history. Vinatieri needs three made field goals from 40-49 yards to pass Gary Anderson (161) for the most from that distance in NFL history. With one made field goal from 50-plus yards, Vinatieri will tie Phil Dawson and John Kasay (42) for the fourth-most from that distance in NFL history. Vinatieri needs one game played to tie David Lee and Ray Donaldson (184) for the 10th-most games played in franchise history.
  • Colts head coach Frank Reich on the starting right tackle spot: “Well, we will continue to evaluate it week-to-week, but right now it’s looking like its Braden’s spot. Right now it’s looking like it’s Braden’s spot with the way he is playing.”
  • Reich on some of his former Bills teammates being at the game Sunday: “I’m not sure. Yeah, there are a few. Jim Kelly will be here. John Kidd was another teammate of mine, he will be here. I’ve heard Thurman (Thomas) and some others, but I’m not sure who. I don’t think they all are going to make it. I think a few of the guys are going to make it.”
  • Reich on what concerns him about the Bills defense: “They are a good overall defense. They get pressure on the passer with four (players) and are able to play zone-coverage behind it. They do a good job of mixing up their coverages. They have three basic coverages that they play. They just play them really well and they get pressure on the quarterback. They do a good job of stopping the run. They are an active front. You can tell – every team plays hard. Every team in the NFL plays hard. This team has a little bit of edge to the way they play. So I certainly respect the way Coach (Sean) McDermott (and) how hard they are playing.”
  • Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni on Inman’s immediate availability: “Yeah, I think he probably needs to (play), but we will see as the week goes. He hasn’t played football this year yet, so we’ve got to see how he responds to some reps and everything like that.”
  • Colts offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo on the Colts returning to Lucas Oil Stadium after playing four of the first six games on the road: “Yeah, no doubt. Any time you play at home and win at home that’s the best. To be able to use our cadences, which will be good. We will hopefully get back into a rhythm.”
  • Colts safety Malik Hooker on returning to Lucas Oil Stadium: “It’s definitely a great thing. Especially back with the Colts fan base and back in the dome, Lucas Oil overall and just seeing the atmosphere and the fan base outside the stadium before the game – it’s going to be a great thing.”
  • Vinatieri on the record ahead of him: “Slowly but surely we are inching closer. It will be fun to catch it pretty soon, right away if we can. I would trade all that stuff in for some wins, you know what I mean? The way I look at it is that record will hopefully come soon enough and then will be in the rearview mirror and we can just stay focused on football. Ultimately, that’s the thing I am thinking about and hopefully everybody else is thinking about as well. We just want to win games and get back on the winning side. That’s way more important than individual things or any records that are out there. They will happen when they happen. We will just try to do everything we can to win games.”

NEXT WEEK

Colts:

  • Oakland Raiders (1-5) (away)

Bills:

  • New England Patriots (4-2) (home)

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