Bills vs. Colts game preview: E.J. Manuel should get a long look for Buffalo


The Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts will play the Sunday game to wrap-up the first week of the preseason.

The Indianapolis Colts hit rock bottom in 2011 with a 2-14 season, and elected to make some big changes. It seems their rebuilding effort lasted all of one offseason, as quarterback Andrew Luck, the first overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, led the Colts to the playoffs and now they're hoping to get there again.

The Buffalo Bills, on the other hand, have been in rebuilding mode for some time now, and are once again rolling the dice searching for a quarterback. The two teams will face off as the featured game to wrap-up the first week of the preseason on Sunday.

Meet the Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are in good shape. They have a few positions to settle during the season, but the most important, quarterback, is obviously set. Andrew Luck wants to play a good deal, but it would be very surprising for him to play more than a couple series under center before calling it a day.

He needs some help on offense though, and the Colts are hoping some of their young wide receivers step up. Griff Whalen is somebody that the fans have been eying, and him getting on the field is one of the more anticipated storylines. There's not a whole lot to be decided at this point in the year, so the Colts just want to see all the young players step up.

Meet the Buffalo Bills

The Bills are searching for their starting quarterback, and surprised everyone when they took E.J. Manuel in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Now, Manuel is on track to start on Sunday, and all eyes will be on how he performs with the first-team offense. He's not guaranteed the starting job going forward though, as Kevin Kolb was only demoted to third-string due to the fact that he missed more than a week of practice.

There's plenty of other battles to watch for the Bills, as they are searching for a starting left guard, a starting wide receiver and still have questions about the pass rush and the defensive line as a whole. There's plenty up for grabs this preseason, and the first game will get it all started.

Local Takes: Colts

Josh Wilson of Stampede Blue thinks Luck won't see the field very much:

On Monday, Andrew Luck was asked if, like his first year, he needs to play a lot this preseason. His answer was classic Luck, saying "Absolutely. Love to play a lot, need to play a lot, need to keep getting better." Chuck Pagano was then asked Tuesday if his signal caller and franchise quarterback would indeed be playing a lot. Put simply, Pagano said "no." He elaborated a bit, saying that "I'm sure someday Andrew will be calling all the shots, but he's only in his second year so we still have some say." It's safe to say that we won't be seeing Luck, or any of the other starters, long on Sunday.

Local Takes: Bills

Brian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings thinks the wide receivers could begin to distance themselves in this game:

Out for more than a week with a strained hamstring, Stevie Johnson will not play in this game. That means that three very young players - second-year pro T.J. Graham and rookies Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin - will see a lot of action with the first-team offense on Sunday. We're fairly certain that all of those receivers will have a role to play on offense, but if any can start to differentiate themselves in a live football setting, their planned role could very well increase.


The Colts opened as 3-point favorites, and you can find them favored by as much as 4 on some books.

Next Week

The Bills will return home to take on the Vikings on Aug. 16. The Colts will hit the road to take on the Giants.

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