Indianapolis (0-0) at Buffalo (0-0)
When: Saturday, August 13th 2022
Where: Highmark Stadium,
Orchard Park, NY
Time: 4:00 ET | TV: NFL Network
Opening Odds: Buffalo -3.5/34
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The Matt Ryan era begins Saturday as his Indianapolis Colts travel to Buffalo to take on the Super Bowl favorite Bills to open their respective preseason schedules. This will be the sixth-consecutive season that Indianapolis will start a difference quarterback in Week 1. Ryan comes over from a long career in Atlanta. He was traded in March for a third round selection in the 2022 Draft. The Colts missed out on the postseason a year ago, finishing with a 9-8 record and second place in the AFC South.
Meanwhile, the Bills are hungry to get back to the postseason after falling in overtime to the Kansas City Chiefs without ever touching the ball on offense. Buffalo is a big favorite to win the AFC East once again after finishing 11-6 in 2021. Quarterback Josh Allen is currently on a $258 million contract that locks him in through the 2028 season. Buffalo opened up as a 3.5-point favorite in this game, but the Colts are now 1.5-point favorites as of Thursday afternoon. The total sits at 35. Buffalo has won three of the last four preseason meetings including a 24-16 home win over the Colts in 2019. Indianapolis won 41-15 at Buffalo during the 2021 regular season behind a five-touchdown game from Jonathan Taylor.
Ryan was not the only offseason move the Colts made. They acquired Pro Bowl defensive end Yannick Ngakoue in a trade with the Raiders and also acquired 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore to start at cornerback. Ryan will have one of the league’s top offensive lines in front of him led by Quenton Nelson and Ryan Kelly. Taylor in the backfield makes this offense really hard to stop. Wideout Michael Pittman is coming off a 1,082-yard season. Sam Ehlinger and Jack Coan could be sharing most of the duties under center on Saturday. The Colts will also display rookie wide receiver Alec Pierce, as he could become a big piece of the offense. Pierce had 884 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches on 52 receptions in his final season at Cincinnati.
Allen is proving to be a top-tier quarterback in this league and ended last season with 4,407 passing yards (and another 763 on the ground) to go with 42 total touchdowns. He has weapons like Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis. In the offseason, the Bills signed two-time Super Bowl champ Von Miller to a six-year deal. He has 115 career sacks and is a three-time All-Pro. The Bills also added wideouts Jamison Crowder and O.J. Howard. Rookie running back James Cook – younger brother of Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook – will see some action. In 2021, the Bills were third in the NFL with 29.8 points per game.
Head coach Frank Reich is coming off a perfect 3-0 preseason in 2021 and the Colts are 8-1 ATS away from home since the 2016 preseason. I can see why this line has flipped to Indianapolis’ favor.
Pick: Colts -1.5