The Buffalo Bills are the accepted underdog in their home opener against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday. It makes sense, as Andrew Luck has been picked by some to be this year's NFL MVP, while the Bills haven't even been to the playoffs since the Clinton Administration. But let's face it: this is a much improved Bills team that boasts a new head coach, quarterback, and several weapons on offense. They may be underdogs, but the Buffalo Bills can pull off a week one victory at home against the Indianapolis Colts. Here's how...
Put Pressure on Andrew Luck Early and Often
We already know the Bills will be without defensive tackle Marcell Dareus for week one, but they will still line up as one of the best defensive lines in the NFL this Sunday. The Colts failed to utilize Bills standout defensive end Jerry Hughes during his first three years in the league, and you can bet he will make his presence known on Sunday against his former team. Mario Williams will line up on the opposite end (in all his color contact lens glory) but may conceivably move around against a line led by the consistent but fairly average Colts Left Tackle Anthony Castonzo, who recently received a 4 year contract extension. Bills DT's Kyle Williams and Corbin Bryant finish a list of four players Andrew Luck will see an awful lot of, walking away as he gets up off the ground. Keep pressure on Luck, and make it difficult for him to get the ball to T.Y. Hilton, Coby Fleener, and Andre Johnson.
Take Advantage of Colts Rookies on Defense
For a team being smothered in Super Bowl predictions, they are certainly starting an awful lot of rookies. In fact both Colts starting defensive tackles David Parry and Henry Anderson will each be playing in their first NFL game, side by side. I'm sure they'll enjoy a heartfelt welcome in the form of Richie Incognito's voice. They are joined by two more rookies in the Indianapolis secondary: Clayton Geathers and D'Joun Smith, who will start for the injured Greg Toler. The Bills are expected to establish a strong ground game with new additions LeSean McCoy, Karlos Williams, and Jerome Felton, while spreading the field wide open with Sammy Watkins, Percy Harvin, Charles Clay, and Robert Woods. The wild card is new Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who is a 4 year NFL veteran but making his first start. And by wild I mean he will run wild, making this new look Bills offense a nightmare to defend for the Colts on Sunday.
Keep Frank Gore Under 100 Combined Yards Rushing/Receiving
He might be 32 years old and on a new team, but running back Frank Gore was signed to be a big part of the Colts game plan this season. The Bills front seven match up extremely well against the Colts O-line, and that will help limit Gore's production on the ground. It will be interesting to see what plans the Colts have for Gore in the passing game.
Unleash Charles Clay
The Bills went all out to sign Charles Clay in the offseason, giving him a big contract to leave Miami. I am baffled that so many A-list media personalities have overlooked his presense in the Buffalo offense. At 6' 3" and 255 lbs will provide a big target and safety net for a new quarterback in the swirling winds of Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Colts aren't going to let Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin run around wide open, nor are they going to forget what Shady McCoy can do as a receiver out of the backfield. Someone is going to be getting a lot of looks from Tyrod Taylor this Sunday, and Charles Clay will be that someone.