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It’s a matchup pitting strength vs. strength. The Indianapolis Colts are one of the best teams in the league when it comes to running the football. The 41st overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Jonathan Taylor, has quickly ascended into one of football’s best young running backs.
If you just asked yourself, “Why didn’t the Buffalo Bills draft Taylor?”, well, Brandon Beane didn’t have a draft pick until the 54th selection after making the Stefon Diggs trade, giving up pick No. 22. No one would do that trade over. Diggs has been a revelation for Josh Allen and the deep passing approach that excites so many of us on game day.
Not to worry, the Bills have the better strength coming into this contest. Buffalo has the third-best run-stopping defense in the NFL, and their strength isn’t predicated on just one football player. If Taylor got hurt or missed some time, the Colts are screwed. Not so much for the Rumbling Herd. They have a treasure trove of talent on both sides of the ball. Whereas Taylor carries the Colts.
Buffalo Bills Week 11 game details, where to watch
- Sunday, November 21, 2021
- Start time: 1:00 PM ET
- TV channel - CBS
- Location - Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York
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What happened last time the Bills played the Indianapolis Colts?
The Bills last played the Colts in January during the Wild Card round. Philip Rivers was still making plays, slinging footballs across the yard, but it was Bills Fans who would win in the end.
In a slow-moving game that didn’t truly heat up until the fourth quarter, the results could have gone either way.
The pivotal point in the game came when the Bills led 17-10 early in the final frame. Allen found Stefon Diggs for a 35-yard touchdown to put the Bills up by two scores. Diggs finished his day with 128 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Although Diggs went off, it came down to the wire. Micah Hyde was able to bat down a last-second Hail Mary toss by Rivers to seal the deal. With it, the Buffalo Bills won their first playoff game in 25 years.
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Matchups to watch
- Bills entire defense vs. Carson Wentz
You can bet the entire Buffalo Bills’ Rumbling Herd are licking their chops ahead of this matchup. Carson Wentz, while he undoubtedly has skill, he also makes some of the most bone-headed decisions you’ll ever see on a football field. He’s like Jared Goff, but with a bigger arm and more athleticism.
Wentz can make defenses pay with a nice throw here and there. He can even do a Josh Allen impression, picking up some first downs using his legs. And sometimes, he flashes some ability that makes one wonder if he’s a playoff quarterback.
Still, he has a tendency to turn the ball over. While he’s doing better avoiding turnovers so far in 2021, the wheels could come off in Buffalo. Wentz has lost just three fumbles and thrown three interceptions all season. A large part of that has to do with their run-heavy gameplans and a top-notch offensive line.
The Bills have several defenders who excel at forcing takeaways. In fact, Buffalo leads the NFL with 2.7 takeaways per game. Interestingly, the Colts are second, with 2.1.
- Bills’ rush defense vs. Jonathan Taylor
Imagine Derrick Henry 2.0, except normal-sized and sped up. That’s Jonathan Taylor, the Indianapolis Colts’ lead running back. What makes the Colts’ RB so lethal is his combination of power and speed.
Taylor ran a blazing-quick 4.39 40-yard dash at the 2020 Scouting Combine, yet he can still punish defenders. He’s basically what everyone envisioned Saquon Barkley to be in the NFL.
Taylor leads the NFL with 937 rushing yards. Like Henry, few teams have been able to slow him down. He has over 100 rushing yards in five of his ten games this season.
Taylor is currently on a hot streak, scoring a touchdown in seven consecutive games. He also has a total of 326 yards from scrimmage in his last two contests.
One way Taylor can wreck the game in a hurry is by breaking off big runs, running behind three-time All-Pro Quenton Nelson. Taylor leads the NFL with nine rushes of 20 or more yards.
Josh Allen has three 20+ yard gains this year, and Devin Singletary has two. This just shows the drastic differences in the strengths of these two teams.
Jonathan Taylor’s a beast, and he may very well be one of the best rushers in the league today. But he’s actually played Buffalo once before. In the 2020 AFC Wild Card Playoffs, Taylor ran 21 times, picking up just 78 yards and a touchdown, averaging 3.7 yards per carry, which is far shy of his career 5.4 yards per tote average.
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier likely has a good idea of how he wants to attempt to limit Taylor’s game-breaking ability, and it’s just a matter of execution. After all, the Bills are allowing just 83.8 rushing yards per game, good for the third-best rate in the league. The only 100-yard rusher allowed by the Bills this season was Derrick Henry in Week 6, but we’ve moved on.
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Buffalo Bills Week 11 game prediction
- Last season’s record: Buffalo Bills 13-3, reached AFC Conference Championship
- Indianapolis Colts 11-5, first place in AFC South
Vegas oddsmakers have set the initial betting line. The Buffalo Bills are favored over the Colts by seven points. Which, given that the Bills are 6-3, and the Colts are 5-5, it’s a bit surprising to see bettors treating the Colts as if they’re nearly a bottom-of-the-barrel team. Yet, it shouldn’t be too shocking. The Bills have far more talent than the Colts, especially at the quarterback position.
In an attempt to keep the ball out of Josh Allen’s hands, Colts coach and former Bills QB Frank Reich will do his best to slow the game down. Their best chance to win is if Jonathan Taylor breaks off a couple of 20+ yard rushes and IF Carson Wentz doesn’t turn the ball over.
However, such events are unlikely to happen in Buffalo. While they may not have the best pass rush in the league, the Bills do have elite talent in their secondary. If Wentz continues to gamble (he will), Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde will be there to capitalize and punish their opponents for their mistakes.
Josh Allen has gotten his groove back, which means Stefon Diggs and Co. are as lethal as ever. Buffalo can get ahead and never look back as long as the front five holds up, allowing Allen time to find his playmakers downfield. Expect a closer battle than we’ve seen against the Jets and Dolphins, but not as close as that forgettable Jaguars game.
Game prediction: 31-20 Bills victory