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2017 Opponent Scouting Report: Week 14, Bills Special Teams, A Prediction and Draft Watch

Overview

On December 10, 2017 the Indianapolis Colts will travel to the state of New York to take on the Buffalo Bills. In this Week 14 matchup, I sought to understand our opponent and get a better idea for what we are up against.

The Bills finished 2016 with 7 wins and 9 losses. This year they have found some success as first year head coach Sean McDermott has implemented his system and a playoff berth is a possibility. The last time the Bills played in a playoff game they gave up 100 yards on the ground to Eddie George and the Steve McNair lead Titans won their 1999 Wildcard matchup. Right now, the Bills find themselves on the outside looking in but their remaining schedule makes it possible for them to once again be facing the Titans in the Wildcard round. To say this game means more to them that it does us would be a vast understatement.

Let’s figure out what we can expect in Week 14.


Special Teams

Kicker: Steven Hauschka

NFL: Detroit Lions at Buffalo Bills Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Hauschka is on his 4th NFL team and short of a really rough year in Baltimore 8 years ago, most of his teams have gotten an above average to good kicker. This season he is no different as he’s gone 22 for 25 on field goals and 23 of 23 on extra point tries.

His career long was a 58 yard bomb in 2014 and he booted a 56 yarder earlier in the year. If this game comes down to what seems like an extremely long field goal don’t count ole’ Hauschka out.


Punter: Colton Schmidt

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Colton Schmidt is a good but not great kicker and he has been during his entire four year career, all with the Bills. He’s currently averaging 45.3 yards per punt. After last week I feel it’s important to mention that Schmidt has attempted one rush in each of the past two years. He has a career rushing average of 8.0 yards per carry and has yet to carry the ball this season.

He might be due for a fake.


Returner: Brandon Tate

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Tate is an experienced return man in his ninth NFL season. Tate is sporting a 21.3 yards per kickoff average and a 10.4 yard punt return average. He is a solid returner but isn’t someone who is usually a threat to turn returns into points as he hasn’t returned a kick or a punt for a touchdown since 2011.


Final Thoughts for the Week

Sunday will mark the first time we will see our 2017 Colts face not only an opponent trying to win the game, but also the weather. A lot can change between now and Sunday but as of right now the WeatherBug is predicting that sometime tonight and Saturday the Buffalo area could see as much as 18 inches of snow.

As of right now they are predicting snow on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday. If that’s the case the only issue our boys will have to face is the 26 degree high temperature, if something were to shift and lets face it, predicting the weather isn’t an exact science so it could, we might end up with a snowy slug-fest between two not great teams.

Either way I expect to see our Colts run the ball more often than they pass and I expect to see them have some success with it. On the other side of things I expect LeSean McCoy to have a lot of success beating Colts defenders to the edge and Tyrod Taylor will move the ball effectively using his legs in this cold weather game.

In high school this is the kind of game that our coaches said we were playing in “football weather”. To this day I couldn’t help but feel like “football weather” was a lot different if you happened to live in Florida or Texas. Thanks for nothing, coach.


Prediction

Bills 19

Colts 17


Draft Watch

This segment will keep an eye on our draft positioning as the year progresses. No, I’m not suggesting that we throw the season or that we should all look forward to the draft. Rather I hope that this will allow us all to be aware of next off-season and realize how much our 2018 outlook can change from week to week.

I would like to point out a really cool site that covers the NBA, NHL and NFL: Tankathon. It has a funny name but it serves a cool purpose, weeding out tie breakers to show who is slated to draft where.

2018 Colts Draft Position Post Week Three:

5th Overall

Depending on who you talk to the Colts are either 4th or 5th overall as of today. The teams in front of Indy are:

  1. Cleveland Browns. This team might lose 16 games this year. No one is taking the top spot from them.
  2. New York Giants. What a dumpster fire. With their Head Coach and GM both axed and the reinstatement of Eli Manning as the starting QB, who knows what will happen. Will the team rally to beat the Dallas Cowboys? I doubt it, but I mean anything could happen.
  3. San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers starting Jimmy Garoppolo for the first time last week turned out to be the right move. They won a barn-burner against the Chicago Bears and they’re facing a struggling Houston Texans team this week. With a loss they drop to either 4th or 5th overall assuming the next two teams on our list lose.
  4. Denver Broncos. The Broncos stink. This weekend they play a not great New York Jets team and I fully expect the Broncos drop another game.
  5. Indianapolis Colts. You guys should absolutely know about this one.
  6. Chicago Bears. They stink but maybe not as much as the Broncos. They have the Cincinnati Bengals this weekend and even though the Bungles played tough against their division foe Pittsburgh Steelers last week, it wouldn’t shock me to see the Bears get a win in this one.

All in all we’re still in a good position for the draft. There aren’t many ways I foresee us falling out of the top 5 picks and if we do I would bet my house we don’t miss the top 10. For the record, I’m going to be pimping Connor Williams from now until the April draft so, buckle up, buttercup.

Again, enjoy the game this weekend and be thankful you’re probably not going to be buried in literal feet of snow like those poor souls who unfortunately reside in New York state.