We’re about 48 hours away from kickoff, and already the nerves are settling in to the pit of my stomach. As much as I hate being this nervous about the game, it’s really the fun part of football. We just spent 17 weeks watching our team go through all those highs and lows, great wins and tough losses, and none of that compares to the postseason. The game against the Jets was great. And then we were treated with the gem we had last week. NO ONE, except for a few (like Andrews) had faith in the team, enough to pick them to beat the Chargers. But, as the Patriots have done since the BB regime, they went in to a city and did what no one thought they could do. Which leads us to this Sunday.
The rivalry is well documented. In reality, a rivalry is only legit when both teams have success against each other. The fact is, the Patriots have owned the Colts since Brady has been our QB. Not much of a rivalry at all, except for the fact how dangerous the Colts have looked. Because of their explosiveness, they’ve always been in the mix of the powerhouses in the NFL. The bottom line is, they haven’t done squat in the playoffs. When the games mean something, they fall flat. That’s the question for this Sunday: Which Colts will we see? Will it be the explosive team, the one that can beat anyone? Or will it be the Colts we’re used to seeing when the games mean something? The one that has a confused QB, beat up WR, and a porous defense?
Andrews, like last week, is more confident in the Patriots as I am. We’ve been like this for quite a few years now, and I should be more like him, but I’m a nervous Nelly when it comes to the Patriots. I don’t know why, but I never have my complete confidence in them. Andrews has submitted his keys to victory this week, and he explains them below:
The keys to victory against the Colts are few and fairly simple. Simple to identify that is, not so simple to carry out. You need to pressure their receivers, Harrison especially. Pressure on Manning is nice, but unless you can jam his receivers and throw off their timing Manning will be able to get rid of the ball faster than your rusher can get to him most of the time.
And while the Cots running game has been getting better and better all year as Joseph Addai has come along I’ve gotten to the point where I just don’t worry about a team running on the Pats to the point where it changes the game.
Offensively the Pats need to run the ball. Actually they don’t NEED to run the ball, but if they want to win this game by any comfortable score (at least 2 scores/10pts) they’ll need to be able to dictate a little bit. And with Laurence Maroney coming off something like 9 carries last week against the Chargers he should be plenty fresh.
The key to this game will be, as always, how strong the Patriots defense can be. If they can control the game and diffuse any surges, I think we will be fine. Specifically, the Patriots cannot give up the big play. Last time they played, Manning connected on some rediculously large plays, and I think those were the difference. If the secondary can at least not give up the big play, I don’t see them having a problem.
I think the offense will need to get going by getting the pass to establish the running game. Quick throws, screens, and three step drops will help them move the ball. I know you can run against this team, but the running game will be crucial towards the end of the game. The defense needs to tire quickly, and the best way to do that will be to speed up the offense. I know people want to grind out the clock, but the fact is Peyton will get his chances- we need points.
I think the Pats will have some problems on defense with the Colts passing game, as usual. But as usual the Pats defense will be able make plays when they need to. On offense for the Pats I think despite the Colts shutting down the running games of the Chiefs and the Ravens the past 2 weeks that the Pats will be able to get the yardage on the ground that they need to give Brady plenty of time to avoid the mistakes he’s had in recent games.
Pats 31 Colts 21
I don’t know, but I’m just not convinced this game will be business as usual for the Patriots. How many times can you give a guy like Peyton Manning a crack to beat you? Eventually, he’s going to do it. This year, the Patriots haven’t played like the Pats of old, and there’s no way anyone can say they expect the same game we would from the Super Bowl teams. I will say, the Patriots are much better than I thought they would be. Unfortunately, I just can’t see them doing all they need to pull it out. I don’t think Adam Vinatieri will be the difference. In fact, I actually have a feeling he’s going to miss one that will be big. But I believe Peyton will get his revenge and win the one game that’s eluded him.
Colts 28 Patriots 17
Enjoy the games this weekend. I’m picking the Bears to win the NFC division. Go Pats!