Some pundits were worried that the extra playoff seed in both conferences would lead to a lesser team ruining the experience, but this weekend is full of great matchups. It’s exciting we’ve reached this point of a crazy, Covid-filled season. The best game of the weekend might be the red hot Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts, so let’s see their NFL odds.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills
Saturday, January 9, 2021 – 1:05 PM E.T. at Bills Stadium
The Bills are playing the best football in the NFL. Quarterback Josh Allen has reached his potential in just three seasons after a tough start in his first two years, and the addition of all these weapons around him has worked out extremely well. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has created a deadly scheme to maximize all of the diverse skill sets available to him.
Daboll will be a head coach next year elsewhere after a brilliant stretch in Buffalo. He'll have his work cut out for him against Matt Eberflus, who could also be a head coach next year. The Colts defense has been solid and at some times great over the last two seasons despite lacking some key playmakers.
As you can guess, the coaching matchup is extremely enticing. Both staffs boast standout positional coaches and overall identities. The Bills enter this as the better team and six-point favorites on the top sportsbooks because of their offensive ability.
Allen's ability to create big plays has always been a plus for him, but his deep accuracy has bounced back to what it was in college with some adjustments to his balance and stride. The astonishing part is how much more consistently he throws with short accuracy. He has gotten lucky with dropped interceptions, with the second-most in the league, but he's delivered chunk plays often enough to overcome that.
The Colts will be hard-pressed to slow them enough to win. Xavier Rhodes has been surprisingly good, but the rest of the secondary is lacking the big talent they need. Kenny Moore has been okay, and not having Malik Hooker has stifled the unit's ability to create turnovers. DeForest Buckner and Justin Houston are great and must be unblockable this week to buy them time.
I expect Josh Allen to have another big game because of the lack of talent in the Colts' secondary. He's performed at an MVP level this year and averaged almost 285 yards per game. Look for him to hover around 65 percent completion rate, 275 yards, and two passing scores against the Colts' zone.
He has a ton of speed available to him with Diggs, Gabriel Davis, John Brown and Isaiah McKenzie all able to stretch out the slow Colts' defense. Rock Ya-Sin is highly vulnerable to defensive penalties because he grabs so much. Look for the Bills to isolate him often.
Meanwhile, Philip Rivers has a ton to prove as his career winds down. This may be the last game we see him. The 39-year-old has been decent for the Colts statistically, but hasn't been the difference between an average offense and anything better. Some of that has been due to the lack of consistent playmakers around him. However, his limited arm surely hasn't been an asset to the unit.
Rivers is going up against a talented but inconsistent Bills defense. The Bills are a fun and uniquely built bunch with active safeties and corners, but haven't been limiting yards as well as they did in 2019. Their lack of a true sack artist has shown to be an issue throughout this season and is their biggest weakness.
Rivers will have to throw the ball quite a bit this game unless Jonathan Taylor has a massive game. That's possible considering the Bills' run defense has been an issue this year, but not likely to be enough to beat Allen's offense. So look for Rivers to be playing catchup often and put up volume stats.
I think he'll hover around 55 percent completion rate for over 300 yards and two scores, but also two turnovers. His history of coming up short in big moments will again haunt him, and we'll see a disappointing end to a solid but somewhat unfulfilling career considering the opportunities he's had to star in wins.