One point or thirty five points, one loss is just one loss. Last week's 35 point loss to the Patriots only counts as one loss in the record books. The Colts are still 6-4 and in position to make the playoffs. This Sunday, however, is a big game for Indy if they want to make those playoff hopes become a reality. The Buffalo Bills come to town, one of only three home games remaining for the Colts. The Bills, at 4-6, are coming off of 10 days rest after beating the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football.
The Colts need a win over Buffalo. And they can get one too, especially if they do these three things:
1. Forget about last week
For a young team, a big loss like last week could linger in their thoughts. It could discourage them and cause them to think they have to do more this week than they have to. If that happens, their season will quickly fall away. Instead, they need to put last week behind them and focus on the Bills. The Colts are 4-1 at Lucas Oil Stadium this year (and that one loss was on the last minute 80-yard touchdown by the Jaguars) and have been noticeably better at home versus on the road. The team's leadership has kept the Colts focused throughout the trials with Chuck Pagano, so there is nothing to suggest that they cannot keep this team focused this week, though it is still something to watch.
2. Stop the Run
The Bills' offensive strength (if you could call it that) is their run game, led by C.J. Spiller, who has rushed for 723 yards and 4 touchdowns while averaging 6.6 yards per carry. Fred Jackson has averaged 4 yards per carry and has also scored 3 times while rushing for 298 yards. The Colts, meanwhile, have struggled against the run this year. They have allowed 4.7 yards per attempt and 11 scores on the ground. For the Bills to win they will need to establish a run game, and so that also means that for the Colts to win they need to stop the run.
3. Special Teams
The Bills this year have taken two punts and one kickoff back for touchdowns. The Colts are coming off of their worst special teams performance of the year in which they allowed their first special teams score of the year. The game last week turned on that touchdown return, and this week special teams could play a big role as well. The Bills could get a huge boost from a return score, and the Colts have to make sure they don't let that happen. They have actually been pretty good at not allowing big special teams plays this year, as last week was the first time they allowed a special teams score, but they have to make sure they don't have a repeat performance.
The game on Sunday versus the Bills is a very big game for the Colts. For a team hoping to make the playoffs, this game is nearly a must-win. And I expect them to get it.