In week 14 the Buffalo Bills will host the Indianapolis Colts in a pivotal game to keep playoff hope alive. The matchup to watch this week will be crucial in determining the outcome.
To win on Sunday’s the Bills offense will need to put up more than 3 points. This week, the key to the game will be Colts Pro-Bowl WR TY Hilton vs. Bills rookie Tre’Davious White. In all of the Colts wins, Hilton was the primary offensive catalyst, keep him at bay, and the Bills offense will have less work to do.
White has been by all accounts a massive hit as a rookie. He makes some mistakes, but makes up for it with passes defended and creating turnovers at the most opportune times. White’s forced fumble versus Tampa Bay, and interception versus Kansas City all but locked up wins in each. The last two weeks, White has been tested. He went one on one with Chiefs swiss army knife, Tyreek Hill. Followed by the polar opposite physical style of Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski a week later.
This week White can forget about physicality, and go back to finesse defense. Hilton is a more polished receiver than Hill, and has a more proven track record in the NFL. Stopping Tyreke Hill was nice, but Hilton is a master’s class of the same style of Wide Receiver.
The Colts don’t have many playmakers. The last time we saw Indianapolis in Buffalo, Andrew Luck was throwing to Hilton, and they had one of the more explosive NFL offenses. Flash forward two years, and Hilton will be relying on Jacoby Brissett to get him the ball.
The Colts offense doesn’t scare anybody, and it’s because they lack playmakers and a consistent offensive line. With #2 WR Donte Moncrief out this Sunday, Brissett will have Hilton, former Bill Kamar Aiken, and Chester Rogers to throw to.
The bottom line is, the Colts are what they are, and that’s a three-win team. In those three wins, Hilton has monster games. He had 7 catches for 153 yards vs Cleveland, 7 catches for 177 yards vs San Francisco, and 5 catches for 175 yards vs Houston.
In all other games (all losses for Indianapolis), Hilton hasn’t achieved 5 catches or 100yards in any game. Tre’Davious White has to contain Hilton for the Bills to have a high percentage chance at winning.
Letting Hilton make large chunk plays would be an issue. To prevent that, White will have a tag partner in the Buffalo weather. The Colts are an indoor team, and their division features all warm weather away games. The Buffalo weather should provide an advantage. White is a rookie from Louisiana, and while he can adapt to how to play in the cold, this will be his first crack at it. For all the help the weather should do in limiting the passing offenses, a slippery field makes defending a sharp route runner like Hilton all the more challenging.
This is a good test to see how far along White is in his development. White doesn’t have to get interceptions this week to fuel the Bills to victory. He just has to force Indianapolis to find another player to move their offense. While Hilton isn’t in the Bills division, he is a faster and more explosive version of key divisional foes that White will see. This tape can be used by White for when he faces Julian Edelman, Jarvis Landry, and Robbie Anderson.
Expect the Colts to attempt short and quick passes early in their opening drive to get Hilton involved. Once the ball is in his hands, Hilton has elite return abilities to make people miss. The Bills defensive backs will need to tackle him in one shot, and prevent him from getting in space.
I want to see how White does vs Hilton, even on the routes where Brissett doesn’t throw to Hilton. The Bills can stop Hilton by having an effective pass rush as well. The Colts have one of the shakiest offensive lines in the NFL, and Buffalo’s defensive line can force Brissett into avoiding Hilton.
White versus Hilton will be a lot of fun to watch this Sunday. Regardless of who the QB is for the Colts, they will still be playing a chess game against the Bills defense. They want to get Hilton the ball. White and the Bills want to stop that at all costs. Stop Hilton, and the Bills should be looking at victory #7.