Buffalo Bills vs. Indianapolis Colts: Three Keys to the Game


Three things to watch for between the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts

More from Buffalo Bills News

Buffalo Bills football is back! It has been a long nine months, but there is finally some meaningful football to be played at Ralph Wilson Stadium again.

With Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in town, the Bills will have a tough test right off the rip. This Week 1 matchup features one of the league’s best defenses and one of the top offenses.

Which one will prevail? We’ll know soon enough.

Here’s this week’s Three Keys to the Game for the matchup with the Colts, which kicks off Sunday at 1 p.m. from Ralph Wilson Stadium:

1) No costly mistakes from Tyrod Taylor.

When it comes to the offense, Tyrod Taylor has the most pressure coming into Week 1. He’s the player that most believe will either make or break the Bills’ season.

After winning the starting quarterback job towards the end of training camp, Taylor is starting his first game since his days at Virginia Tech Sunday afternoon. With the weapons he will have around him – LeSean McCoy, Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Percy Harvin and Charles Clay – the first-time starter won’t be asked to do a lot.

However, when it’s Taylor’s time to make a play, he can’t make the wrong one. If he can escape Sunday’s opener without a turnover, there’s a good chance Buffalo will start the season 1-0.

2) Turn your head around Ronald!

On defense, the bright lights are on rookie cornerback Ronald Darby. When he was drafted in the spring, most believed second round pick wouldn’t have meaningful role until down the road.

Aug 14, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills cornerback

Ronald Darby

(28) during a preseason NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

However, here we are after a setback in Leodis McKelvin‘s recovery. Darby will start at corner against one of the best quarterbacks and receiving corps in the NFL.

Darby’s coming off an up and down preseason and will be under a spotlight Sunday. Chances are good Stephon Gilmore will be in charge of covering Andre Johnson, which means Darby could see T.Y. Hilton often.

If the Bills’ roll coverage toward’s Darby, he won’t be on an island too often. But when he is, the Florida State product has to turn his head around and find the ball.

Darby was in position often during the preseason, but didn’t turn his head around and wound up either getting flagged for pass interference or burned for a big play. If he can turn his head around, the Bills defense should be alright.

3) Big efforts from the pass rush.

The defensive line is the core of this team, and considering the Bills are facing Luck and the high-powered Colts offense, Buffalo will need a big outing from the guys up front. It helps that the Colts’ offensive line isn’t one of the better groups in the league.

With Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes and Kyle Williams chomping at the bit, expect to see the front four in the backfield early and often. If Buffalo can get their pass rush going early, the secondary should get some relief, as well.

Prediction: Bills win 27-24

Taylor will shine in his Bills debut and the pass rush will do just enough keep the Colts’ offense at bay.

Next: Bills vs. Colts - fantasy football preview

More from BuffaLowDown