KRAVITZ: 5 keys to the Colts-Bills game

Bob Kravitz

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Bob Kravitz breaks down the five things the Colts need to do to pull out a win on the road against the Buffalo Bills:

  • Slow down Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy. Just like “get an early lead’’ was Key No. 1-5 against Jacksonville, slowing down McCoy is 1 through 5. He’s the only real serious threat on the Bills offense, especially if coach Sean McDermott starts Nathan Peterman at quarterback. The Bills are ninth in the NFL in team rushing, and McCoy is sixth in the league with 851 rushing yards – plus he’s dangerous in the passing game. The Colts are ranked 14th against the run. If Peterman starts, as expected, that will give the Colts run defense an advantage because Peterman doesn’t run the way Tyrod Taylor runs. When Taylor plays, you have to defend the entire field. Not the case with Peterman.
  • Win the game’s biggest individual matchup: Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo against former Colt and current Buffalo defensive end Jerry Hughes, who has 38.5 career sacks and has found a home in Buffalo after washing out in Indy. Castonzo has been very solid in recent weeks and needs to get the best of Hughes if Jacoby Brissett is going to stay upright.
  • Mix up coverages, especially if Peterman gets the start, as expected. In his one start this season, he threw five interceptions in a half against the LA Chargers, setting the record for most interceptions thrown in a quarterback’s first career start. This will be weakness against weakness: Peterman hasn’t proven anything – except that he throws a catchable ball, I guess – and the Colts’ secondary is currently populated by three rookies (Kenny Moore III, Nate Hairston and Quincy Wilson). If this guy throws for 300-plus yards, the Colts might as well pack their things and take an early vacation.
  • Don’t give up any cheap touchdowns, especially on special teams, where Buffalo’s Brandon Tate is a dangerous returner. The Colts have slowly improved in the area of allowing big plays, but it still happens too often. This figures to be a close, low-scoring game; two challenged offenses, and my Double Doppler is calling for snow Sunday in Buffalo (imagine that!). One mistake, one big play, could spell the difference in the outcome.
  • The Colts ran for 140 yards last week against Jacksonville, and Buffalo struggles against the run, ranked 25th in the league. The Bills lack playmakers up front (except for Hughes, who is not a great run stopper), and the Colts figure to be able to run directly at Buffalo. Another thing: Watch the turnover situation. The Bills are seventh in the league in turnover differential. The Colts are 15th.

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