Colts @ Bills (-6/-6.5)
When I take a first glance at this game it seems like two teams trending in the opposite direction. The Buffalo Bills have won eight straight games, which Could actually have been 10 wins if not for the infamous "Hail Murray" loss against the Arizona Cardinals. The Indianapolis Colts, on the other hand, had trouble putting away the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 17 in a must win game, as well as blowing a double-digit lead to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 16. Even in Week 15 the Colts were a goal-line fumble away against the Houston Texans from being in a tie game with less than a minute to play. The Colts failed to cover the spread in all three of those games, yet despite those struggles over these last few weeks Indianapolis managed to still finish at an impressive 11-5. This is surprisingly the first game Indy has been a dog all season, while the Bills have manage to cover eight straight games, good for the longest streak in the NFL since 2018. The end result of this game revolves around the Bills getting a big enough lead that can push the Colts out of their game plan. It's no secret that the Colts will try to formulate the game plan around Jonathan Taylor and the rushing attack. As we know, a team playing in a negative game script with a ticking clock won’t be able to have its game working at max potential. Same goes for these Colts here.
Indy's defense has also regressed from the beginning of the year as its schedule got tougher. That being said, tough opponents are all that the Colts are going to face in the playoffs, starting on Saturday in Wild Card Weekend. Buffalo, on the other side, has the explosive offense that can take advantage of the Colts zone-heavy defensive scheme. The Bills will be able to throw on first down, and that in itself can be the deciding factor in this game. I can see the Bills getting out to a quick and early lead here, especially with Josh Allen throwing the most on first down in the NFL and ranking near the top of success rate on first down passing plays. At the same time, the Bills rank near the bottom of the NFL iN first down rushing, which is where the Colts' defensive strength lies. Therefore, I look for star wideout Stefon Diggs to be used early and often on first downs for Allen and the Bills. What the Bills do best is what the Colts do poorly against, ranking in the bottom third of the league vs. the pass on first down while ranking among the top vs. the run on first down. Fortunately for these Bills, they are very successful on those early down plays.
If the Colts want to be successful in this game they will have to find a way to take advantage of the Bills defense with Taylor, who has been an absolute beast as of late and can surely have his way against the Bills run defense, which has shown weakness up the middle; Taylor has averaged 140 yards on the ground and scored seven TDs over the past four games. The impressive rookie reached 1,000 yards this season and is the KEY to the Colts having any success offensively in this game. The Bills also rank 28th vs. the TE position, and if the Colts want to have a better shot in this game and keep Buffalo's run defense honest, they might also have to get the trio of Mo Alie-Cox, Trey Burton and Jack Doyle going early and often.
Lean: Bills -6/6.5
Like: Bills PK *6 pt teaser*