The Buffalo Bills will host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, as they aim for their first playoff win since 1995.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen set franchise records for passing yards (4,544) and touchdowns (37) this season, but he will enter Sunday’s matchup looking to atone for his team’s playoff collapse to the Houston Texans last season. Allen accounted for 372 total yards and caught a touchdown, but failed to throw or throw for a score and lost a costly fumble. The Bills mustered just 19 points on offense and were defeated by the Texans in overtime. That loss has driven Allen and the Bills all season, as they enter the postseason as the No. 2 seed owning a 13-3 record, their best since 1991.
To exorcise his demons, Allen will have to best a Colts defense that is one of the league’s best. Quite possibly the NFL’s most sure tackling unit, Indianapolis owns the second-ranked run defense in football. They have also forced 25 turnovers on the season, and host a pair of First-Team All-Pro selections in linebacker Darius Leonard and defensive end DeForest Buckner.
Leonard leads the Colts with 132 total tackles, but has also recorded three forced fumbles, a pair of recoveries and seven tackles-for-loss. He is also excellent in pass coverage, having led all linebackers with five interceptions in 2019. Buckner has been a game wrecker in his first season with Indianapolis, posting 58 total tackles, ten tackles-for-loss, 9.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Even with a bum ankle, he will be a force to reckoned with Saturday.
With Indianapolis’ front seven so stout against the run, Allen will have to be dominant through the air. Luckily for him, the Colts are more susceptible to the pass and will be without starting cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, who has a concussion. Expect Allen to continue his stellar play and carve up the Colts.
Even though the Indianapolis offense will be led by veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, making his 12th career playoff start, they will rely on young running back Jonathan Taylor, who has had an excellent rookie campaign. Taylor is well on his way to earning First-Team All-Rookie honors, rushing for 1,169 yards and eleven touchdowns. The Colts will go as Taylor goes on Saturday, and he should find success against a Bills defense that has surrendered 21 rushing touchdowns.
If the Bills and Steelers are both able to win their respective first round playoff matchups, it will set up a Week 14 rematch in Buffalo next week.