If we're going to use the term "must win" for any team in Week 14, Buffalo is it. The Bills absolutely cannot afford a slip against the lowly Indianapolis Colts.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills
Date and Time: Sunday, December 10, 2017, 1 p.m. ET
Location: New Era Field, Orchard Park, NY
Opening NFL Odds: Check Back Later
Colts vs. Bills TV Coverage: CBS
It's really hard to put a read on the Bills right now. With Tyrod Taylor, they've at least looked competitive. Without him, they had to endure the five-pick half by Nathan Peterman.
Peterman didn't get picked off a billion times by the Patriots last week, but when he was forced into duty after Taylor got carted off the field with a leg injury, he only went 6-for-15 and had no success moving the football. Things got so bad that McDermott tapped Joe Webb to go in and play quarterback.
If we're being honest, Webb is the better option right now for the Bills if Taylor is forced to miss this game as is expected to be the case. He's a veteran and is a mobile quarterback just like Taylor, and the offense doesn't have to be too terribly different like it would have to be with Peterman slinging the ball all over the place.
The Colts are awful at 3-9, but for some reason, they still feel more competitive than their record suggests.
Maybe it's the fact that Jacoby Brissett's numbers aren't god awful, and maybe it's the fact that the team has only been beaten by double-digits once in the last month. That said, the Colts only have wins over the Browns, 49ers and Texans this year, and that latter win came with Tom Savage under center for Houston, not Deshaun Watson.
Still, when you rank dead last in the NFL against the pass and dead last in scoring defense, it's hard to just blame your No. 28-ranked offense.
If the ball doesn't end up in the hands of LeSean McCoy 25 times in this game, McDermott should be publicly flogged.
McCoy is approaching the wrong side of 30-years old now, but he's still going strong at the end of the year. He has only had three runs of 30+ yards this year and just one of 40+, but he's still averaging a reasonable 4.1 yards per carry. In these last four games, McCoy has averaged 6.2, 2.2, 8.8 and 6.1 yards per tote respectively, and with that type of production, there's no way the ball should be in the hands of any quarterback for too long.
The magic number to get to is 20 carries for McCoy. When he gets there, the Bills are 5-0 this season. When he doesn't get there, they're 1-6.
Colts vs. Bills Free Picks
If we go under the assumption that Taylor won't play in this game, it's going to be really tempting for the top football sportsbooks to make the Colts road favorites, even for as badly as they've played. The Bills have just flat out stunk offensively in recent weeks, and Peterman's one start was a fantasy comedy (or a horrible tragedy, depending upon your vantagepoint).
If Webb starts, we would change our mind and back Buffalo in this game. Otherwise, the public would have this game spot on by wagering on the Colts. They're bad, but at least they have a competent quarterback who is keeping the team involved in most of its games.
NFL ATS Pick: Play the Underdog Colts at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Colts 19, Bills 13