Here are predictions from members of The Buffalo News' sports staff for Sunday's Buffalo Bills-Indianapolis Colts game. The Colts are favored by 7½ points.
After desperately turning to a semiretired journeyman to play quarterback, the Bills find themselves in a tougher spot than can be typically expected even during a rebuilding season. It's hard to imagine Derek Anderson, after less than two weeks of practice following an offseason of non-football activity, providing the competent QB play the Bills have lacked in all but one game. Maybe their defense can continue the dominance it showed last week, but their offensive ineptitude figures to make that difficult. As bad as the Colts might be, the Bills look worse. Colts 27-17.
It’s not a good look for the Bills to be this big of an underdog against a one-win team, but it’s a reflection of the lack of faith Vegas (and everybody else) has in the team’s offense right now. Starting Derek Anderson less than two weeks after signing him is an absolute mess of a situation. The Bills badly miscalculated Nathan Peterman’s ability to play in the NFL. For as much as the offense can be expected to struggle, though, the defense has shown it can at least keep the team in games – if not steal a win. For that reason, I’ll take the Bills with the points. Colts 17-13.
I don't think the Bills' offense can keep pace with Andrew Luck, even though the Colts' wide receiving corps is banged up and the running game isn't very good. Despite that, the Colts are 10th in passing yards. However, this defensive front isn't that stout. The Bills should be able to run if they don't fall behind early. Colts, 20-16.
Derek Anderson could be an immediate improvement over talented but raw (and now injured) rookie Josh Allen and certainly over Nathan Peterman. But while he’s a veteran, he’s no miracle worker. He’s a 35-year-old longtime backup making his fifth start in seven seasons. Oh, and he signed with the Bills less than two weeks ago. Buffalo should have a chance to win this game against a bad Colts team, as long as the defense can stifle Andrew Luck. But that’s easier said than done. I’ll take the Bills to cover. Colts, 24-20.
The face of the Bills’ on-field product is a question mark. With quarterback Josh Allen out, and Nathan Peterman deemed a liability, can the Bills count on Derek Anderson to plug the hole at quarterback against Indianapolis? Anderson spent the last seven seasons as a backup in Carolina, and is 2-2 in four starts over the past seven seasons. The Colts are 1-5, but have lost only one game by more than 11 points – and have a proven quarterback in Andrew Luck. Colts, 16-14.