If at the beginning of the season you said that the game between the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts was to have playoff implications, most people would have thought that the Bills were playing well behind their new and improved defensive line.
Not so fast.
Andrew Luck has taken the Colts from the worst team in the league a year ago to two games up in the AFC wild-card race, while the signing of Mario Williams has failed to pay the big dividends the Bills had hoped for.
Now, the 6-4 Colts are trying to move one step closer to a playoff spot, while the 4-6 Bills are trying their best to claw their way back into the playoff picture.
Where: Lucas Oil Stadium
When: Sunday, Nov. 25 at 1 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NFL.com
Betting Line: Indianapolis (-3.5), according to 5Dimes
Buffalo Injury Report (via Yahoo! as of Nov. 20, 2012)
|Eric Wood C||Probable||Knee|
|Kyle Williams DT||Probable||Ankle|
|Aaron Williams CB||Out||Knee|
|Mario Williams DE||Probable||Wrist, knee|
|C.J. Spiller RB||Probable||Shoulder|
|Leodis McKelvin CB||Probable||Groin|
|Chris Kelsay DE||Out||Neck|
|Fred Jackson RB||Out||Concussion|
|Marcell Dareus DT||Probable||Shoulder, hamstring|
|Mark Anderson DE||Out||Knee|
Indianapolis Injury Report (via Yahoo! as of Nov. 20, 2012)
|Robert Mathis LB||Probable||Back|
|Winston Justice T||Probable||Knee|
|Donald Brown RB||Probable||Knee|
|Coby Fleener TE||Out||Shoulder|
|Vontae Davis CB||Out||Knee|
What's At Stake?
Playoff implications are at stake, of course.
With a win, the Colts would improve to 7-4 and would remain at least two games ahead of the teams chasing them for the last playoff spot in the AFC.
Are they for real?
On the other hand, a win for the Bills would bring them within a single game of the Colts for that No. 6 seed and would give the team the ever-important tiebreaker.
Either way, this game has playoff implications written all over it. Who could've seen this coming?
Buffalo RB C.J. Spiller
With Fred Jackson ruled out, Buffalo's offense is about to become the C.J. Spiller Show.
Spiller is a very talented running back with home-run potential. He can break off a 70-yard touchdown run at anytime, which makes him special. What's more impressive is that he is also a receiving threat, making him that much more dangerous.
Spiller will be facing the No. 22 rush defense in the league on Sunday, and will surely be getting just about all of the carries for the team. The Colts are ranked No. 25 against fantasy running backs, giving up over 18 points per week and surrendering three rushing touchdowns the last three weeks.
Spiller is the centerpiece of this offense, and I expect a big day from him.
Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck
In general, Buffalo's defense is pitiful, and that is great news for Luck, who ranks No. 7 among fantasy quarterbacks this season, and is averaging nearly 19 points per game in his last three games.
Luck has been on fire, throwing for 994 yards in his last three games. What's more important is that he can run for touchdowns as well, scoring five this season.
The Bills have given up 237 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns to quarterbacks this season, including 154 yards combined to the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers.
Look for Luck to beat the Bills with both his arm and his legs.
What They Are Saying
According to the Washington Post, "the news is promising" on Fred Jackson's return from a concussion, and the Bills would be thrilled to get him back this week. However, Yahoo! still lists him as "out."
According to the Bills' official Twitter feed, Jackson is on track to return, but nothing has been made official.
Chan Gailey: Fred Jackson is on track to return this week— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) November 19, 2012
This is going to be the storyline to watch as Sunday nears.
Key Matchup: Andrew Luck vs. Buffalo Defense
The Bills have had a long week to prepare for Luck, after playing on Thursday Night Football against those same Dolphins in Week 11.
Coming off a blowout loss to the Patriots, the Colts are looking to rebound, and I expect the team to look to punish Buffalo, and Luck will be a big part of that.
This game comes down to talent, and the Colts are simply the more talented team. Even with a long week, I expect the Bills to lose to the Colts in Indy this week.
Colts 31, Bills 21