INDIANAPOLIS — The Buffalo Bills are fresh off of their first playoff appearance in 18 years, but it may not be smooth sailing just yet.
The Indianapolis Colts are trying to break out of their own playoff drought. They have only gone three years without the playoffs, but in Indianapolis that is far too long. For reference, they had made the playoffs in 14 of the previous 16 years to that point.
Both teams will likely be playing with a different player at quarterback from who their primary signal-caller was in 2017. They both also have several new faces to work in on both sides of the ball.
- Sunday, October 21 at 1:00 p.m. ET
- Indianapolis, IN at Lucas Oil Stadium
- TV — CBS
- Bills lead, 31-37-1. Bills have won three of the last four, going back to 2010.
- Last game — Week 14 of 2017. Bills won, 13-7.
- HC Frank Reich
- OC Nick Sirianni
- DC Matt Eberflus
- STC Bubba Ventrone
- HC Sean McDermott
- OC Brian Daboll
- DC Leslie Frazier
- STC Danny Crossman
KEY NEW FACES
- OG Quenton Nelson
- TE Eric Ebron
- WR Ryan Grant
- RB Nyheim Hines
- DT/DE Denico Autry
- QB A.J. McCarron/Josh Allen
- C Russell Bodine
- DT Star Lotulelei
- LB Tremaine Edmunds
- CB Vontae Davis
OTHER SIGNIFICANT CHANGES
- The Colts got an almost entirely new coaching staff this offseason, and general manager Chris Ballard went into his second offseason of flipping the roster.
- With the coaching change came a switch to a 4-3, Tampa-2 style defense from the hybrid 3-4 defense.
- From 2017 to 2018, there could be as many as a dozen or more new starters.
- One of those new starters will be at running back. Frank Gore is now on the Miami Dolphins, so a new face will be stepping into the starting tailback spot.
- There are a lot of familiar faces no longer in Buffalo, as quarterback Tyrod Taylor, wide receivers Jordan Matthews and Deonte Thompson, offensive linemen Richie Incognito, Eric Wood and Seantrel Henderson, linebacker Preston Brown and cornerback E.J. Gaines have now all moved on.
- The Bills have a new offensive coordinator after parting with Rick Dennison this offseason. Former University Alabama offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Brian Daboll will now call the Buffalo offense.
- Who Will Be The Bills Starting QB? — With Taylor no longer in the picture, the Bills' starting quarterback spot appears to be open. They drafted Nathan Peterman in the fifth round last year, and he started two of the four games he played in. The Bills then signed free agent A.J. McCarron this offseason and moved up to take Josh Allen in the first round of this year's draft.
- LeSean McCoy's Situation — Bills star running back LeSean McCoy is currently being investigated for an assault that took place in his home this month. As we have seen in the past, the process for which the league deals with these cases can go on for months (or years), and appeals and legal moves can put the player's status in limbo throughout.
- Buffalo's Offensive Line — The Bills are now without Incognito, Wood and Henderson on the offense line. Although Buffalo does have other players with starting experience, it will be interesting to what effect all the change will have.
- Vontae Davis Making First Appearance Against Colts — After six years with the Colts, cornerback Vontae Davis is now with the Bills and is making his first appearance against Indianapolis.
- Colts QB Andrew Luck vs. Bills S Jordan Poyer/Micah Hyde — Bills starting safeties Poyer and Hyde combined for 10 interceptions last year (cornerback Tre'Davious White added four more). Can the ball-hawking group bait Luck into any mistakes, or will he steer clear of the duo?
- Colts OT Anthony Castonzo vs. Bills DE Jerry Hughes — Since Hughes left Indianapolis in 2013, he has been one of Buffalo's most ferocious defenders. The Colts' first-round draft pick in 2010 is likely to be lined up opposite of their 2011 first-round pick, left tackle Anthony Castonzo, quite often in this matchup.
- Colts TE Eric Ebron vs. Bills LB Tremaine Edmunds — Bills rookie linebacker Edmunds has freakish measurables and athleticism. One of the biggest bonuses in having him is his ability to keep up with tight ends and running backs downfield. Ebron is one of the Colts' bigger mismatches on offense, so it just makes sense for Buffalo to try and counter Ebron with Edmunds.
- Colts WR T.Y. Hilton vs. Bills CB Vontae Davis — Last summer, Hilton and Davis got into a skirmish during training camp while Davis was still with the Colts. Hilton showed again last season in a Week 17 dust-up with Texans corner Johnathan Joseph that he can get under a corner's skin.
- Passing — QB Jacoby Brissett (3,098 yards)
- Rushing — RB Marlon Mack (358 yards)
- Receiving — WR T.Y. Hilton (966 yards)
- Touchdowns — QB Jacoby Brissett, WR T.Y. Hilton, TE Jack Doyle (4)
- Tackles — LB Antonio Morrison (108 total)
- Sacks — DE Jabaal Sheard (5.5)
- Interceptions — S Malik Hooker (3)
- Passing — QB Nathan Peterman (252 yards)
- Rushing — RB LeSean McCoy (1,138 yards)
- Receiving — TE Charles Clay (558 yards)
- Touchdowns — RB LeSean McCoy (6)
- Tackles — S Jordan Poyer (95)
- Sacks — DE Shaq Lawson, DE Jerry Hughes (4.0)
- Interceptions — S Jordan Poyer, S Micah Hyde (5)
COMPARING 2017 STATS
- Total offense — 31st (284.8 YPG)
- Scoring offense — 30th (16.4 PPG)
- Passing offense — 30th (180.8 YPG)
- Running offense — 22nd (103.8 YPG)
- Total defense — 30th (367.1 YPG)
- Scoring defense — 30th (25.2 PPG)
- Passing defense — 28th (246.6 YPG)
- Sacks — 31st (25)
- Running defense — 26th (120.4 YPG)
- Time of possession — 22nd (29:41)
- Turnover margin — 13th (+5)
- Total offense — 29th (302.6 YPG)
- Scoring offense — 22nd (18.9 PPG)
- Passing offense — 31st (176.6 YPG)
- Running offense — 6th (126.1 YPG)
- Total defense — 26th (355.1 YPG)
- Scoring defense — 18th (22.4 PPG)
- Passing defense — 20th (230.5 YPG)
- Sacks — 29th (27)
- Running defense — 29th (124.6 YPG)
- Time of possession — 30th (28:20)
- Turnover margin — 7th (+9)
Other 2018 Colts Season Previews:
Colts @ Bills 2017 - HIGHLIGHTS