The Buffalo Bills won their last six games all by double figures, matched the franchise record for wins in a season with 13 and won their first AFC East title since 1995. It’s been a glorious season in western New York, but it means nothing if they can’t get past the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card round on Saturday. The Bills are the hottest team in the NFL entering the postseason and host a playoff game for the first time in 24 years. Those accomplishments aren’t lost on the Colts, but don’t expect Indy to be overwhelmed after winning 11 games this season. Bookmaker.eu offers a generous welcome bonus (max bonus $1600).
Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills
Date and Time: Saturday, January 9, 2021, 1:05 p.m. ET
Location: Bills Stadium, Orchard Park, NY
NFL Odds: Bills -6.5, O/U 51.5
Colts at Bills TV Coverage: CBS
You can throw out all the records and stats because everything changes once the playoffs begin. The Colts have been inconsistent this season. They were the only team to lose to Jacksonville and struggled to put away the Jags in the finale. They also blew a big lead to the Steelers but knocked off the NFC’s top team Green Bay. Still, they won 11 games overall and closed with wins in four of their last five games to reach the postseason for the second time in three years. They failed to cover the 15.5-point line against the Jags in Week 17, their third straight ATS loss to finish 8-8 ATS overall. Indy did go 5-2 SU and ATS in its last seven road games. The Bills look to continue a run that elevated them to the No. 2 seed in the conference. They ended the season on a major heater winning six in a row and nine of their last 10 while going 8-0 ATS. They are laying 6.5 points on the line in this one with the total at 51.5.
This could be the last opportunity for Philip Rivers to reach a Super Bowl. He was brought in to lead the Colts to the playoffs after the team failed last season with Jacoby Brissett at the helm. Rivers had a solid season throwing for 4,169 yards and 24 touchdowns leading an offense that ranked ninth in scoring and 10th in yards.
Rookie Jonathan Taylor emerged as a threat in the running game over the last few weeks and he’ll be a critical piece for the Colts to keep up in a game where points are expected. Taylor set a franchise single-game rushing record with 253 yards in the last game and is averaging 140 yards with seven touchdowns over the last four contests. The offensive line is one of the best in the league keeping opponents away from Rivers and has opened big lanes for Taylor.
While the defensive numbers overall are strong, the group hasn’t been as dominant as it was earlier in the season. Since Week 11 the Colts allowed nearly 300 passing yards per game and over 385 total yards. That’s not good against the red hot Allen. “The pressure is not on us. We should be loose, we should be aggressive, we should be freed up to play our best game of the year. In reality, no one is going to give us a chance. It’s ‘us vs. the world’ mentality and that’s all you need,” Frank Reich said.
No team is hotter than Buffalo entering the playoffs, but they only get one chance in the postseason or all they accomplished during the regular season is wasted. The pressure is on the Bills, but I wouldn’t bet against them. Unlike Indy, they’ve been consistently good with a top offense led by Allen and a defense that’s played much better over the second half. Allen put together an MVP-type season throwing for a franchise record 4,544 yards with 37 touchdowns. More importantly he’s cut down on the turnovers that plagued him throughout most of his career.
The acquisition of Stefon Diggs was made to bolster the passing game and it worked. The Bills had the third-best aerial attack averaging nearly 290 yards. As the top target Diggs led the NFL in receptions (127) and receiving yards (1,535) while hauling in eight touchdowns. Buffalo scored 142 points in the last three games winning them by an average margin of nearly 30 points to finish with the second-most yards and points in the NFL.
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The presence of Rivers makes the Colts a scary team. However, nobody has been better than Buffalo over the last two months and they are a desperation Hail Mary pass away from taking a nine-game winning streak into their first home playoff game in a quarter century. The Bills have been strong defensively since their bye and special teams is a plus. Everything points toward Buffalo getting a win, but we tend to see closer games in the playoffs and the Colts are good enough to cover the spread.
NFL Score Prediction: Buffalo 28, Indianapolis 23
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– Phil Simon, Gambling911.com