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

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Charles Clay
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: Charles Clay /

The Buffalo Bills’ Week 14 tilt against the Indianapolis Colts kicks off at 1 p.m. in Orchard Park.

With a win against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, the Buffalo Bills can keep pace in the AFC wild-card race.

However, just because the struggling Colts are coming town doesn’t mean it will be an easy victory.

The Bills have been hit with the injury bug as of late. Tyrod Taylor’s status on Sunday is in question with his knee injury. Both Jordan Matthews and Shaq Lawson were placed on the injured reserve earlier this week.

Even though Buffalo could be short-handed, but at the same time this has the potential to be a big win. The Bills have a 71.9 percent chance to win on Sunday according to ESPN’s Football Power Index.

You know the drill, each week during the regular season this column will provide the three ways the Bills can secure a victory. So, without further ado, here are the Three Keys to the Game for the matchup against the Colts, which kicks off 1 p.m. Sunday at New Era Field on CBS.

Feed Charles Clay

Each and every week Charles Clay inches closer to 100 percent and his full potential.

The talented tight end will have a perfect opportunity to get back on track facing a weak Colts defense.

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Indianapolis linebackers Jon Bostic and and Antonio Morrison have struggled mightily this season in the passing game.

Bostic’s 43.6 coverage grade ranks him 60th among linebackers in coverage, according to Pro Football Focus. Quarterbacks register a 121.3 passer rating when throwing his way, which ranks 11th.

Morrison comes in lower than Bostic, with a 43.6 grade in coverage.

There will be some opportunities for Clay in the middle of the field and short and intermediate routes along the numbers.

A Big Day From LeSean McCoy

The Bills will either have a banged up Tyrod Taylor or an unproven Nathan Peterman under center.

Whoever it is, LeSean McCoy should factor heavily in the game plan. While this is the norm for the Bills, McCoy would be used best in the passing game.

The Colts have done a good job defending the run lately, but running backs can still find success in the passing game.

Indianapolis is allowing an average of 9.35 yards per reception to running backs in their last four games. McCoy is a huge weapon for Buffalo in the passing game, hauling in 48 passes for 304 yards and a touchdown this season.

This is the way to attack the Colts.

Jump Out To An Early Lead

Whether it’s Taylor or Peterson at quarterback, an early lead is crucial.

Taylor has struggled when facing a deficit during his Bills career. Peterman’s a rookie. He’s never played with a lead before and a quick score can only help.

The Colts are used to playing in a dome and with snow and cold weather in the forecast on Sunday, it wouldn’t be surprising if they struggled moving the ball. An early deficit will only force the Colts’ hands and increase the chances for turnovers.

Prediction: Bills 30-17

Buffalo builds a lead early, and with their passing game no less.

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This could be a game in which Kelvin Benjamin has his coming out party in a Bills uniform. The Colts secondary has been decimated, and in their little time together the talented wide receiver seems to have built some chemistry with Peterman, who Adam Schefter reports is expected to start for the Bills.