The Indianapolis Colts caught the league by surprise last season when then-rookie quarterback Andrew Luck led them to an 11-5 season and a playoff game. They won't catch anyone napping this year, but the Buffalo Bills sure are. With the New England Patriots dealing with injuries and a new quarterback at the helm, the Bills are thinking they might make a run at the division.
Here are three things to keep an eye on when the two teams meet in Indianapolis at 1:30pm EST today.
1) Yes, the Bills will have a new quarterback, but who? Right now, rookie EJ Manuel looks like the leader in the clubhouse. Not only did Kevin Kolb slip on a wet mat and hurt his knee, but he's been streaky and uneven throughout camp. Manuel is a raw prospect, but you don't pick a quarterback in the first half of Round 1 to keep him on the bench. If Kolb isn't playing well, your best bet could be the guy with upside. We'll see plenty of that on display today.
2) The Colts haven't been a deadly running team for years and this season looks about the same. Ahmad Bradshaw is already hurt and Vick Ballard, while serviceable, is limited. However, the next few preseason games are a chance for Ballard to prove he should be the main guy whether Bradshaw has bad wheels or not. On top of that, players like Donald Brown, Delone Carter and rookie Kerwynn Williams are all fighting for roster spots. The answer to the Colts' running woes is probably not on the roster, but you never know. There are always surprises.
3) The No. 2 receiver spot for the bills could be very productive. Starting across from Stevie Johnson is going to leave players a little more open, so the Bills need to find the guy who take advantage of that. It comes down to T.J. Graham and rookie Robert Woods. Graham has tremendous straight-line speed but not much else. He can catch the ball, but if he doesn't blow by coverage off the line he can struggle. We'll have to see if he improves a bit in his second year. Woods, meanwhile, runs sharp routes, has tremendous hands and size and comes from a long line of USC receivers who bailed their coaches and quarterbacks out of bad situations. They'll likely battle all through the preseason, so this should be a very fun pair of players to watch.
Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at Footballguys.com and an NFL writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.
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