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Scouting Report Week 1 - Colts vs. Bills


Top 3 Individual Matchups Mario Williams vs. Jack Mewhort –Williams is coming off a career-high 14.5 sack season and faces a right tackle, who moved to the edge from his guard position as a rookie last season. Mewhort has a challenging first test as the Colts' new right edge protector.

Sammy Watkins vs. Vontae Davis –Watkins said he's good to go following offseason hip surgery, and will need all his strength against the physical Davis. Watkins has improved his releases a lot in the offseason and will force Davis into uncomfortable decisions in terms of when to bail out of his backpedal.

Stephon Gilmore vs. Andre Johnson –Hilton might be the Colts' top wideout, but rolling coverage his way might be the best approach meaning Buffalo's defense would be best served with Gilmore going one-on-one with Johnson. The veteran receiver's size will be a challenge, but Gilmore has had a solid camp and preseason.

Bills Top 2 Advantages Good advantage – Run game
Buffalo's ground game was a disappointing 25th last season, but with a pair of new starting guards and LeSean McCoy in the backfield and a coordinator with a proven track record of run game success, the Bills should be productive against the league's 18th ranked run defense of a season ago.

Best advantage – Pass rushEven without Marcell Dareus in the lineup, Buffalo's depth on their defensive line is impressive. Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes are a lethal edge combination and Kyle Williams is still as quick off the ball as ever. Add in Corbin Bryant, who had a monster preseason, and 73-thousand fans at full throat and Andrew Luck might be on the ground a bit more than usual.

Bills Number 1 Must Red zone offenseOffensive coordinator Greg Roman and QB Tyrod Taylor have to be a new and effective combination in finishing scoring drives for a Buffalo offense that ranked 29th in red zone touchdown efficiency last season.  but they'll be facing a Colts red zone defense that finished dead last in keeping opponents out of the end zone. Indianapolis allowed opponents to score touchdowns two-thirds of the time.

Scouting Eye
Power in numbers
Everyone knows that the Colts had the number one passing offense in football, but Indianapolis only added to their offensive firepower this offseason. The addition of veterans Frank Gore and Andre Johnson has solidified the Colts as a complete offense. Not bad for a unit that ranked third in first downs per game, third in total offense, sixth in points per game and seventh in total yards per play in 2014.

Plenty of 20sEvidence of the Colts' firepower can be seen in their big play ability. Last season Indianapolis led the league with 85 plays of 20-yards or more. Denver was the only other offense to reach 80 in that category. Eighteen of Indy's 20-plus yard plays went for touchdowns last season.

Fronting some rookiesThe Colts suffered a terrible loss to their defensive front this summer when DT Arthur Jones was lost for the season with torn ligaments in his ankle that required surgery. Jones was seen as the anchor for Indianapolis' run front. Without him the Colts are now relying on a pair of rookies up front in fifth-round NT David Parry and third-round DE Henry Anderson in their 3-4 front. The two draft choices will team with veteran free agent addition Kendall Langford.

Hemming them inWith all the focus on Colts QB Andrew Luck and the offense lost is a pretty solid special teams unit, especially when it comes to the field position battle. Indianapolis ranked first in the league last season in opponent's average field position. Opponents averaged their own 25.5-yard line last year against the Colts. Part of that figure can be attributed to their third-ranked punt coverage and their punter and kickoff specialist Pat McAfee, who led the league in kickoff touchbacks (70).

Centerfield ballhawkThe Colts were a disappointing minus-five in turnover differential last season, and were it not for the exploits of safety Mike Adams it would've been much worse. Adams was tied for first in the league last season with seven total takeaways. Five came via interceptions along with a pair of fumble recoveries in 2014.

Buffalo Chips
Quote of the week
"I don't really get nervous before games.  I've been around these guys. I'm just looking forward to going out there and seeing what we can do as a whole and go out there and show people what we can do. I'm more excited to just go out there and play."
QB Tyrod Taylor on his first NFL start

Stat of the weekOver the last three seasons the Colts have the best won-loss record in the NFL in games decided by one score or less. Under head coach Chuck Pagano they've posted a 19-4 mark in games decided by eight points or less.

Milestones within reach
The next team victory with be the 400th in Bills franchise history.

Dan Carpenter needs one point for 800 in his career.

Sammy Watkins needs 18 receiving yards for 1,000 in his career.

Final noteThe Colts have lost each of their last four road openers (2010-12, 2014) including last season at Denver (31-24).

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