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Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills Gameday Preview

COLTS OVERVIEW (2009 RANKINGS)

The comments sections of Colts-related stories and blogs have been amusing to read this week, with a number of “phooey on this team” rants based on Indy packing it in against the Jets instead of shooting for an unbeaten season. They do have a legitimate point, but how many Bills fans would happily trade 14-1 for 5-10 right about now? Or the Colts’ NFL-record 115 wins in the last decade in place of 10 consecutive years’ worth of playoff-free football? Or ... yeah, you get the idea.

OFFENSE (#7 total yardage, #32 rushing, #1 passing, #6 scoring):

After losing three of his first four career starts against Buffalo, Manning and the Colts have won each of the last six. (Surprising, I know.) Interestingly, though, other than one 421-yard, four-touchdown day against an awful Bills defense in 2001, he’s never really put up big numbers in those games ... and don’t expect him to get the chance this week. He’ll most likely play a series or two merely to keep his consecutive-game streak intact, but considering that the Colts’ line will be without both starting tackles, I’ll be stunned if he’s still on the field at the end of the first quarter.

Yes, that No. 32 ranking in rushing yardage is correct; their yards-per attempt average (30th) is only a slight improvement. One could argue that Manning doesn’t need a running game, but its absence could cause backup Curtis Painter some problems tomorrow, especially if the predicted wind (steady 20mph, with gusts up to 40) makes it near-impossible to throw.

DEFENSE (#16 total yardage, #21 rushing, #18 passing, #7 scoring):

Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are both likely to sit this game out, giving probable starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick a break this week. Then again, with either Jamon Meredith or newly-activated Nick Hennessey getting the call at tackle opposite Kirk Chambers, even Raheem Brock and whoever else the Colts put out there could end up spending time in the Buffalo backfield.

SPECIAL TEAMS:

The preseason motif extends to the kicking game, where Adam Vinatieri is safely at home in Indiana. Instead, Matt Stover will fill in against the Bills (and for as long as he’s needed in the playoffs). The punter is rookie Pat McAfee, a seventh-round pick from West Virginia – and yes, to be honest, I had to look that up because I wasn’t entirely sure they had one. The kid’s had a decent season, landing 20 of 58 attempts inside the 20-yard line and averaging 38.0 net yards per kick.

OUTLOOK:

Is there any real reason to look any further than this week’s lengthy injury report? Bill Belichick would be proud of Indy’s comprehensive list. Rusty Jones would cringe at Buffalo’s.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS at BUFFALO BILLS

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Status Report

OUT: T Ryan Diem (elbow), CB Jerraud Powers (hamstring), TE Gijon Robinson (knee), LB Clint Session (knee)

QUESTIONABLE: CB Melvin Bullitt (shoulder), DT Keyunta Dawson (knee), CB Aaron Francisco (hand), DE Dwight Freeney (abdomen), WR Pierre Garcon (hand), DT Antonio Johnson (shoulder), T Charlie Johnson (foot), DE Robert Mathis (quadricep), TE Tom Santi (back), RB Chad Simpson (concussion), K Adam Vinatieri (right knee)

PROBABLE: RB Joseph Addai (shoulder), CB Antoine Bethea (foot), LB Gary Brackett (foot), RB Donald Brown (illness), WR Austin Collie (not injury related), T Kyle DeVan (illness), LB Cody Glenn (shoulder), RB Mike Hart (ankle), CB Tim Jennings (ankle), CB Jacob Lacey (biceps), DT Fili Moala (knee), DT Daniel Muir (shoulder), G Jamey Richard (shoulder), T Tony Ugoh (knee), WR Reggie Wayne (foot)

Practice Report
DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
Wednesday: RB Donald Brown (illness), WR Austin Collie (not injury related), DT Keyunta Dawson (knee), T Kyle DeVan (illness), T Ryan Diem (elbow), DE Dwight Freeney (not injury related), DT Antonio Johnson (shoulder), T Charlie Johnson (foot), CB Jacob Lacey (biceps), DE Robert Mathis (quadricep), DT Fili Moala (knee), CB Jerraud Powers (hamstring), TE Gijon Robinson (knee), LB Clint Session (knee), RB Chad Simpson (concussion)

Thursday: DT Keyunta Dawson (knee), T Ryan Diem (elbow), DE Dwight Freeney (abdomen), DT Antonio Johnson (shoulder), T Charlie Johnson (foot), DE Robert Mathis (quadricep), CB Jerraud Powers (hamstring), TE Gijon Robinson (knee), LB Clint Session (knee), RB Chad Simpson (concussion)

Friday: T Ryan Diem (elbow), DE Dwight Freeney (abdomen), DT Antonio Johnson (shoulder), T Charlie Johnson (foot), DE Robert Mathis (quadricep), CB Jerraud Powers (hamstring), TE Gijon Robinson (knee), TE Tom Santi (back), LB Clint Session (knee), RB Chad Simpson (concussion)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Wednesday: CB Melvin Bullitt (shoulder), WR Pierre Garcon (hand)

Thursday: CB Melvin Bullitt (shoulder), WR Pierre Garcon (hand)

Friday: CB Melvin Bullitt (shoulder), WR Pierre Garcon (hand)

FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Wednesday: RB Joseph Addai (shoulder), CB Antoine Bethea (foot), LB Gary Brackett (foot), CB Aaron Francisco (hand), LB Cody Glenn (shoulder), RB Mike Hart (ankle), CB Tim Jennings (ankle), DT Daniel Muir (shoulder), G Jamey Richard (shoulder), T Tony Ugoh (knee), K Adam Vinatieri (right knee), WR Reggie Wayne (foot)

Thursday: RB Joseph Addai (shoulder), CB Antoine Bethea (foot), LB Gary Brackett (foot), RB Donald Brown (illness), WR Austin Collie (not injury related), T Kyle DeVan (illness), CB Aaron Francisco (hand), LB Cody Glenn (shoulder), RB Mike Hart (ankle), CB Tim Jennings (ankle), CB Jacob Lacey (biceps), DT Fili Moala (knee), DT Daniel Muir (shoulder), G Jamey Richard (shoulder), T Tony Ugoh (knee), K Adam Vinatieri (right knee), WR Reggie Wayne (foot)

Friday: RB Joseph Addai (shoulder), CB Antoine Bethea (foot), LB Gary Brackett (foot), RB Donald Brown (illness), WR Austin Collie (not injury related), DT Keyunta Dawson (knee), T Kyle DeVan (illness), CB Aaron Francisco (hand), LB Cody Glenn (shoulder), RB Mike Hart (ankle), CB Tim Jennings (ankle), CB Jacob Lacey (biceps), DT Fili Moala (knee), DT Daniel Muir (shoulder), G Jamey Richard (shoulder), T Tony Ugoh (knee), K Adam Vinatieri (right knee), WR Reggie Wayne (foot)

BUFFALO BILLS
Status Report

OUT: QB Trent Edwards (ankle), LB Nic Harris (knee), WR Steve Johnson (ankle), S Todd Johnson (hamstring), T Andre Ramsey (calf), WR Josh Reed (ankle), LB Bryan Scott (head), T Jonathan Scott (ankle)

DOUBTFUL: LB Ashlee Palmer (ankle)

QUESTIONABLE: TE Shawn Nelson (illness), S Donte Whitner (illness)

PROBABLE: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (ankle), TE Jonathan Stupar (knee)

Practice Report
DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
Wednesday: QB Trent Edwards (ankle), LB Nic Harris (knee), S Todd Johnson (hamstring), WR Josh Reed (ankle), LB Bryan Scott (head), T Jonathan Scott (ankle), DT Marcus Stroud (back), TE Jonathan Stupar (knee)

Thursday: QB Trent Edwards (ankle), LB Nic Harris (knee), WR Steve Johnson (ankle), S Todd Johnson (hamstring), TE Shawn Nelson (illness), WR Josh Reed (ankle), LB Bryan Scott (head), T Jonathan Scott (ankle), DT Marcus Stroud (illness), S Donte Whitner (illness)

Friday: QB Trent Edwards (ankle), LB Nic Harris (knee), WR Steve Johnson (ankle), S Todd Johnson (hamstring), TE Shawn Nelson (illness), LB Ashlee Palmer (ankle), T Andre Ramsey (calf), WR Josh Reed (ankle), LB Bryan Scott (head), T Jonathan Scott (ankle), S Donte Whitner (illness)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Wednesday: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (ankle), LB Ashlee Palmer (ankle)

Thursday: LB Ashlee Palmer (ankle), T Andre Ramsey (calf), TE Jonathan Stupar (knee)

FULL PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE
Thursday: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (ankle)

Friday: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (ankle), TE Jonathan Stupar (knee)

Then again, I can’t say much – I’m sitting this one out, too (illness), stopping my home-game streak at 116 (including preseason). Y’all try to stay warm out there tomorrow, while we all hope that the changes afoot at One Bills Drive bring us better days in 2010.

LINKS

Colts depth chart | 2009 regular-season stats
Bills depth chart | 2009 regular-season stats

Welcome to the Blogosphere:
ESPN AFC East (Tim Graham) | AFC South (Paul Kuharsky)
Bounce it off Phil B. (Indianapolis Star – Philip B. Wilson)

Lori Chase, a staff columnist for Two Bills Drive, can be contacted at lchase (at) twobillsdrive.com.

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