13 fascinating statistical nuggets for Sunday’s huge Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills game

Corral Josh Allen and run the ball successfully. That’ll do!

We usually wait for the playoffs to uncork a massive list of statistical points of interest for a Colts game.  This week feels like a playoff week though, so in we dig to the data – some trivial, some arcane, but all interesting.

This game can serve as the counter to the Colts overtime loss to Tennessee, if somehow the Colts can earn the win.  It seemed likely that a loss the the Titans closed the Colts playoff window for good, and with it the chance to go to the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2014.

It still appears that way, but hopelessness isn’t much fun, especially in November, so we kicked in one small pane in the window to allow just a little light.  Until the Colts are mathematically eliminated, we can indulge ourselves a bit.

Sunday’s game in Buffalo is the game the Colts can use to legitimize playoff dreams.  Only 1/2 game out of the third wildcard spot, FiveThirtyEight.com gives the Colts a 46% chance of getting into the tournament.  That seems high to me, but why argue with beneficial math?

A win would launch the Colts into a better than even shot at getting to 10 wins – the number that appears necessary to qualify.  Here are a lucky 13 nuggets to make thinking and talking about this humungous game a little more fun:

  • Pressure is key!  Josh Allen has been sacked a minimum of three times in three games this season.  The Bills have lost every one of those game – and won the rest.
  • Run Jonathan, Run!  When Jonathan Taylor runs for 80 or more yards in his career, the Colts are undefeated.  Yep, 11-0 when Taylor hits that mark.  When he hasn’t gotten to 80 over the last calendar year, the Colts are a winless 0-7 – including the week Taylor missed while of the Covid list.
  • Getting hot for a trip to the tundra!  Over the last seven games, Colts are 5-0-2 in regulation.  Sadly, overtime has not been kind as those two ties became losses to the Ravens and Titans.
  • Colts success is against the weak!  The Colts have not beaten a team in 2021 that currently has a winning record, and the last team  they beat in 2020 that finished the season with a winning record was the Packers.  That win came in Week 11.  This is Week 11.  I’m just sayin’.
  • Forecast favorable!  The current weather forecast for Sunday, according to weather.com is for partly cloudy skies and a high of 48.  For last year’s wild cards game in Buffalo, it was 14 degrees colder.
  • Open the gates of Hell – or Highmark Stadium!  The attendance for the Colts @ Bills wild card game was 6,772.  Multiply the number of people going to Sunday’s game by 10, and multiply the sound on big third downs the Colts face by that amount too!
  • Allen can run too!  The difference in last year’s wild card game was Josh Allen’s feet, not arm.  He was good throwing the football, but was the Bills leading rusher with 11 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown.  Allen was sacked twice with former Colts Denico Autry and Justin Houston accounting for 1.5 and 0.5 respectively.
  • Dig, Diggs must be dug!  Bills WR Stefon Diggs had six catches for 128 yards and a touchdown.  Diggs has only two 100+  yard games to his credit in 2021.  The Bills have won those two games by a combined score of 85-17.
  • The race is to 26!  The Bills have allowed opponents to score more than 21 points twice, and lost both those games.  The Colts have scored more than 25 points five times and have won four of those games.
  • Ever heard of the Kennedy/Lincoln coincidences?  The most points the Bills have scored in a loss is 31.  The most points the Colts have scored in a loss is 31.  The opponent for both of those games was the Tennessee Titans and the score of each was 34-31!
  • “Would you like a hot turnover with that?”  The Bills (+14) and Colts (+11) rank #1 and #2 among NFL teams in turnover differential.
  • Both Kickers are money!  Tyler Bass and Michael Badgley have missed a combined one kick this season for the Bills and Colts.  Bass is 19-of-20 kicking field goals with the pair’s lone miss coming from 50+.  Badgley has attempted only seven for the Colts, without a try outside 42 yards.  The pair have combined to make 48 extra points without a miss.
  • Put some Hines 57 – or 75 – on it!  The 163 rushing yards the Bills allowed the Colts in the wildcard game is the highest number since the Cardinals beat the Bills in Arizona.  Nyheim Hines was key to the Colts getting to that number with six carries for 75 yards.

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