This insane playoff stat favors Colts against Bills in Wild Card round

Colts RBs Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images)
Colts RBs Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines (Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images) /

Recent history suggests that the Colts have a better chance knocking off Buffalo than you might think.

An 11-5 record would normally be enough to secure a division crown, but in what has proven to be a loaded AFC, all it rewarded the Indianapolis Colts with was a wild card berth and a date against the Buffalo Bills, who have been the consensus hottest team in football over the last two months.

Of all the teams available to play in the first round, this is probably the last one Indy wanted to be drawn against, but that is ultimately the consequence of blowing a 17-point second-half lead vs the Steelers two weeks ago.

That obviously isn’t to say that the Colts don’t stand a chance at pulling off the upset. It just stinks they have to face off against a side that’s been scoring touchdowns for fun across the last eight weeks. During that span, Buffalo is averaging 37.8 points per game, which was capped off with a 56-point explosion to clinch the No. 2 seed in their regular season finale.

However, what if we told you that road wild card teams have fared surprisingly well in recent years? In fact, those teams are an impossible 6-2 over the last two seasons and 8-4 if you date back as far as 2017.

On top of that, at least one road team has emerged victorious on wild card weekend in seven of the last eight campaigns. Fans in Indianapolis would honestly be hard-pressed not to feel more confident after coming to terms with these absurd stats.

One quick thing to note, however — the No. 2 seed doesn’t usually play on Wild Card weekend. The expanded playoffs now only give a bye to the No. 1 seed, which is why the Bills even have a game this week.

As we know, the playoffs are a hotbed when it comes to upsets, and there’s really no reason to think the Colts couldn’t pull of one of their own his weekend. After all, the Bills’ run defense is nothing to write home about, as they ranked 24th in yards per attempt (4.6), 25th in first downs allowed by runs (125) and 27th in expected points contributed by run defense (-38.09).

Fortunately for the Colts, their running game has been humming for the better part of six weeks now. During that stretch, rookie Jonathan Taylor, who’s fresh off registering a franchise record 253 yards in the win over Jacksonville, is averaging 123.5 yards on 6.2 yards per attempt to go with eight touchdowns.

There will obviously be other factors — like red zone defense, third down conversion rate and the turnover battle — that will be key to a Colts victory, but the previously mentioned success of road teams on wild card weekend certainly bodes well for their chances at knocking off Buffalo.