The Buffalo Bills are in a fight for the AFC East title with the New England Patriots, and they have a tough test in front of them this weekend with the Indianapolis Colts. Buffalo has played one of the easiest schedules in the NFL thus far, but now begins a stretch of four games which it plays three playoff teams from last year -- with the rival Patriots the only one that didn't make it. The Bills need a win Sunday to stay atop the AFC East.
In come the Colts, a team that has rebounded from an 0-3 start to get right in the thick of the AFC playoff race at 5-5. A victory Sunday over Buffalo will put Indianapolis over .500 for the first time all season, clearly making this the biggest game of the Colts' season to date. The Colts sit just a half game behind the Los Angeles Chargers for the final playoff spot in the AFC.
Which team will come out on top in this AFC wild card playoff rematch from last season? Here's a preview of the Week 11 matchup.
How to watch
Jonathan Taylor vs. Bills run defense
Taylor has been the best running back in football this season with Derrick Henry sidelined, finally getting notoriety with Henry on injured reserve. Leading the NFL in rushing yards (937) and yards from scrimmage (1,230), Taylor has seven consecutive games with at least 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown -- just the fourth player since 1970 to accomplish the feat.
The Colts are averaging 5.1 yards per carry, third-best in the NFL behind the power of Taylor. They average 5.6 yards per carry to the right, second-best in the league -- which is where they'll test a Bills run defense that allows just 3.8 yards per carry (third in NFL).
Buffalo does struggle with their run defense to the right of the field, allowing 4.7 yards per carry (10th-most in the league). This matchup will be the one to watch Sunday.
Colts in red zone vs. Bills in red zone
The Bills have one of the best red zone defenses in football, allowing just 11 touchdowns on 24 red zone drives this season. That 46% red zone rate is second-best in the NFL. Conventional wisdom suggests the Colts red zone offense will struggle, especially since they don't have a good red zone offense to begin with.
The Colts have scored 20 touchdowns on 39 red zone drives. That 51% red zone efficiency is the fifth-lowest rate in the NFL this season. This red zone efficiency is even with Carson Wentz throwing 12 touchdowns to just one interception in the red zone in 2021.
For the Colts to upset the Bills, touchdowns in the red zone are a must.
Josh Allen had an excellent bounce-back game last week, going 14 of 17 for 305 yards on play-action throws. Allen is one of the best play-action quarterbacks in football, averaging 11.4 air yards per attempt on play-action throws. The Bills would be wise to use more play-action against the Colts to counteract Indianapolis running the football and keeping the Buffalo offense off the field.
The Colts are a good team, but pulling off an upset in Buffalo is a tall task for a team that struggles to score in the red zone. That will be the difference in this one.
Bills 27, Colts 23