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7 Things to Watch for During Sunday’s Colts Bills Game

This guy doesn’t inspire confidence

Last week…well let’s talk about something else.  This week Indy travels to the frozen wasteland that is Buffalo, New York.  While Peyton Manning is expected to start the game, the Colts’ chances for victory will rest largely on Curtis Painter.  In his honor, we bring you seven things to watch for this Sunday.  Be on the look out for:

1.  Watch the pitch count. Weather permitting, I would love to see the starters play a half.  I realize that is unlikely, but surely any reasonable person would allow that it would be plenty of work for the starters to stay in sync.  More likely, we’ll see Manning for a drive.  If we even get a second, we’l all feel lucky.

2.  Watch the weather report. The reports are calling for 18 degrees with snow.  Caldwell has said he doesn’t expect the weather to affect his plans, but I have to think that if conditions are too bad, we won’t see Manning do much other than hand off into the line three times.

3.  Watch another top pass defense.  The unfortunate part of Curtis Painter having to play the Bills and Jets is that they are top two defenses in the NFL at opponents passer rating.  He doesn’t have a chance.  The Bills are going to force 3 sacks and two picks from Painter.  If he’s lucky.  Remember Painter has NEVER lead a touch down drive, not even in the preseason.

4.  Watch for milestones.  Several Colts have personal goals they’d love to attain, but it seems unlikely they will.  Manning will almost certainly lose the passing title (which isn’t bad considering no one has ever lead the NFL in passing yards and won the Super Bowl in the same year).  He only needs 152 yards to set a career high, however, and if the Colts decide to let the starters play a little more than we expect, he could get there.  Dallas Clark needs 7 catches for 100.  Reggie Wayne needs just five.  Austin Collie, who could see more action than the other starters needs 7 catches to set the Colts’ rookie record for receptions.  Fans will howl if the Colts go for them, but it would be the right play, within reason.

5. Watch the kicking game. Priority number one for the Colts offense needs to be getting in field goal range to let the team evaluate Vinatieri.  Granted, kicking outside in Buffalo will be a much tougher test than anything he’ll have to do this postseason, but the team needs to know what he can do.  They have a tough decison as to whether or not to keep Stover.  Getting AV some live attempts would be a major accomplishment for what is sure to be an anemic offensive day.

6.  Watch for a live chat.  The Colts are treating this like a preseason game, and so will we.  That means we’ll do a Cover It Live blog/chat during the game on Sunday instead of the normal game day blog.  Stop by at game time and we’ll hang out and shake our heads in dismay together.

7.  Watch for 14-2. The Bills are horrible.  Curtis Painter is worse.  Unless the Colts let the starters play more than a series, they aren’t going to win this game.  Buffalo takes it 17-10.  That may be optimistic.