After a win last week to put the Bills back on track, they have the Indianapolis Colts coming to town on Sunday. The Colts have been playing good football as of late, winning four of their last five games – with their only loss to the Titans. They have a great run game led by Jonathan Taylor. Taylor has rushed for over 900 yards and nine touchdowns. The Colts struggle when they can’t establish the run early in-game. That is the main goal on defense this week, slow down Taylor and make Carsen Wentz beat the Bills with his arm.
Another week without Star Lotulelei, and this is a tough week for him to be out of the game. Trying to contain Taylor is a team effort and would be much easier with a guy like Star taking on multiple blockers in the middle. The next man up for the Bills defense would be Harrison Philips. Ed Oliver plays opposite Star normally, and that won’t change. Philips will need to have a big week, not in the stat sheet but doing his one-eleventh.
The Bills need Philips to play like Star. They need him to take up two or three offensive linemen and let the rest of the defense go one on one. His job is to take up space and let the linebackers fill behind him. Philips does a good job of this and is athletic enough to make plays in the backfield. This week the Bills should win in the trenches. Both of the Colts tackles are questionable for the game Sunday. Also, Quenton Nelson has been banged up all year, first with a foot injury, and he also missed time last game. This is a winning recipe for the Bills defensive line to be able to slow down Taylor.
On defense, the Colts play soft zone coverage and blitz around 17% of the time and create pressure around 19% of the time. With these factors, the Bills passing game should be very effective. Last week the Bills passing game found its stride again, passing for 350 yards and a couple of touchdowns. This will continue this week, and it starts with Stefon Diggs. Last week he had a great game. On 13 targets caught eight balls for over 160 yards and a TD. Diggs should be able to carry this momentum into this week.
The soft zone the Colts play just means that the routes run by the receivers will be shorter. There will be many more drags, slants, outs, and digs than posts, streaks, and corners. Most of the yards this week will come after the catch. Bills skill players will have to make players miss and can’t down after first contact. The Bills have multiple players that are good at this – Diggs, Cole Beasley, and Dawson Knox. All three of these players are set to have a big week. All three excel in short route running and making big plays after the catch. Expect these three to lead the game in targets(Beasley), yards(Diggs), and touchdowns(Knox).