Kravitz Conversation with Buffalo News columnist Jerry Sullivan

Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) is sacked by New England Patriots outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy (53) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
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Bob Kravitz

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Every week, WTHR.com's Bob Kravitz chats with a reporter who covers the Indianapolis Colts' opponent. This week, he has an email conversation with Jerry Sullivan, senior sports columnist for The Buffalo News.

KRAVITZ:

As we talk on Thursday, what's the latest on who might play quarterback for the Bills Sunday? What do both QB's bring to the game in terms of their skill sets, which is another way of asking how differently the Colts will have to prepare for each guy?

SULLIVAN:

Taylor practiced with a sleeve on his knee [Thursday] (he has a patellar injury), so it's looking more like he'll play. [UPDATE: The Bills are saying Taylor will be active, but they’re leaning toward starting Nathan Peterman.] Of course, McDermott will play this out as long as he can, as these obsessive coaches do, to get a .00001 percent better chance of winning. Taylor is better right now, though he's a borderline starter in my book. He's an inferior passer who doesn't read the field well and isn't accurate enough. He's probably the most dynamic running QB in the league, which creates problems for defenses. He makes a lot of throws when he scrambles. He's not running as much this year or as effectively. Teams are using defenses to contain him in the pocket and "make him be a quarterback," which hasn't gone so well. They try to win like it's the 70s with him: run a lot, not throw interceptions. If he qualified, he would have the lowest interception rate of all time. But he doesn't attempt tough throws down the field, which makes it deceiving. He's probably done here and will wind up being a backup somewhere else.

Peterman is a fifth-round pick and raw. They started him one game and it was a disaster, as I'm sure you heard. He was a fifth-rounder for a reason. Doesn't have a very strong arm, but they like the way he goes through his reads and gets the ball out fast. Taylor is slow and tends to wait until a guy's open. Peterman's perceived strengths are mainly a reflection of what Taylor lacks. Peterman could probably beat the Colts with a bunch of Trent Edwards type throws.

Tyrod Taylor
Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) drops back to pass against the New England Patriots during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Patriots won 23-3. (AP Photo/Rich Barnes)

KRAVITZ:

From afar, the Bills look like one of the worst .500 teams going. As someone who watches them every week, is that pretty accurate? Or am I missing something?

SULLIVAN:

No question. As I wrote the other day, there's usually a point late in a season, no matter how good the start, where I consider them one of the worst half-dozen teams in the league. They're 26th in offense and 27th in defense. That would normally translate to 4-8.

They got to 5-2 largely because they had an historic turnover ratio at that point. They also got a break when Julio Jones and Mohammed Sanu both got hurt in the Atlanta game. They have done some creative defensive coaching at times (in KC, for one), but talent-wise, they are thin and weak.

They don't have a wide receiver in the top 120 in the league in yards. Think about that. They traded Sammy Watkins and let Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin go in free agency. So they weren't supposed to be good. I picked them 4-12.

Freaking NFL.

KRAVITZ:

OK, the picks. I think it’s pretty simple. The Bills are still playing for something; the Colts are playing for nothing. I figure the Colts will keep it close, but they’ll find a creative way to come up short. Bills, 19-13.

SULLIVAN:

I like the Bills, 20-14, because they usually beat bad teams at home, especially in bad weather. Even good teams sometimes seem uninspired in Buffalo and if the weather is bad, they pack it in if things get bad. Also, the problems in the Colts' secondary should make it possible for either QB to be effective in their low-risk passing game. They're due for good bounces, too.

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