The Buffalo Bills are playing better than any team that’s scheduled to take the field on 2021 NFL Wild-Card Weekend. It’s why the AFC East champs are heavy favorites over the visiting Indianapolis Colts in their first-round playoff matchup.The Bills are seven-point favorites against the Colts in Saturday afternoon’s game, according to the betting odds compiled by OddsShark. Indianapolis finished two games behind Buffalo in the AFC standings, and it will take a massive effort in order for the Colts to pull off the upset.
When: Saturday, January 9 at 1PM ET
Where: Bills Stadium, Orchard Park, New York
No team has even challenged the Bills during their six-game winning streak to conclude the regular season. Buffalo defeated every opponent by double digits, winning by an average score of 38-18 during that span.
Had it not been for Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray’s Hail Mary, an unlikely last-second touchdown pass to beat the Bills in Week 11, Buffalo would enter the playoffs on a 10-game winning streak.
Josh Allen has performed like an MVP candidate, throwing for 37 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 107.2 passer rating. The third-year quarterback added eight rushing touchdowns, engineering the NFL’s No.2 ranked offense.
Veteran QB Philip Rivers had a fine season in his first year with the Colts, though the gap between Buffalo’s quarterback and Indianapolis’ starter is a significant one.
It’s been over two months since any defense came close to slowing down Buffalo’s offense. Indianapolis’ defense was better than most during the season. It wasn’t nearly as good in the season half of the year, especially against difficult competition.
The Indianapolis Colts (11-5) and Buffalo Bills (13-3) face off on Saturday in a Wild Card NFL playoff game.
Which team will get the victory?
Check out these NFL playoff picks and predictions for the game, which can be seen at 11:05 a.m. MST time on CBS.
The Bills are a 6.5-point favorite in the game.
More NFL Wild Card playoff picks, predictions:
Colts vs. Bills | Rams vs. Seahawks | Bucs vs. Washington
Ravens vs. Titans | Bears vs. Saints | Browns vs. Steelers
Pro Football Network: Bills 27, Colts 23
How We Got Here
The Bills lead the Colts 37-32-1in the all-time series, but the Colts won the latest matchup in blowout fashion (a 37-5 victory in 2018).
Buffalo is looking to win its first Playoff game since 1994.
Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs have led the Bills to the NFL’s second-best offense in terms of yards per game. Diggs led the league with 127 catches and 1,535 yards this season, while Allen has transformed from “Strong-Armed Project” to “Face Of The Franchise.”
The Indianapolis Colts will likely have to lean on rookie running back Jonathan Taylor and a takeaway-prone defense.
Taylor is coming off a whopping 253 yards against Jacksonville. He finished the regular season with 1,169 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns while averaging five yards per carry.
The Colts have 25 takeaways on the season – good for a fifth-place tie. Five different Colts have multiple interceptions and linebacker Darius Leonard has forced three fumbles.
Speaking of Leonard, he also leads the team with 132 tackles and is one of the reasons Indy is so stingy against the run (they allow just 90.5 yards per game on the ground).
How To Watch
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Ben Rolfe writes: “This is a fascinating matchup to kick off our Wild Card weekend. While the Colts appear to be a middle of the pack team in terms of rushing, they have had a lot of success recently. In the past five games, they have topped 100 rushing yards five times, going over 200 twice. Meanwhile, the Bills entered Week 17 tied for the fifth-most yards per attempt allowed in the run game. One concern for the Colts is the way the Jaguars moved the ball through the air at times. While the Colts run defense has been good, they have allowed opponents to throw for over 300 yards four times in the past five games. The Bills should have enough on offense to win this game, but the Colts could control the ball and give them a scare.”
Sportsnaut: Bills 31, Colts 24
Vincent Frank writes: “The Bills finished up the regular season with a 13-3 record and in style by virtue of a blowout 56-26 win over the Miami Dolphins. It’s a game that saw MVP candidate Josh Allen throw three touchdowns in just over two quarters of action to finish the regular year with a franchise record 45 total touchdowns. All said, Buffalo averaged an otherworldly 47.7 points in their final three regular-season games. Talk about entering the playoffs on a high note. Buffalo will host a limited number of fans for its wild card game against the underdog Colts. For Indianapolis, getting into the playoffs with an 11-5 record was no small accomplishment. Philip Rivers played pretty darn good football in his first regular season with the team. At issue here is a lackluster season-ending performance from the Colts. Their Week 17 game against the one-win Jaguars was within one score in the final stanza. Indy also finished 2-4 during the regular season against teams that boasted a winning record. Despite the feel-good story in Indianapolis, it’s hard to imagine Frank Reich’s squad keeping pace with the high-flying Bills.”