Very few fans or media folks expected that the week 11 meeting between the Indianapolis Colts (6-3) and the New England Patriots (6-3) would mean anything at all, much less have serious AFC Playoffs implications. The surprise lies in how many games the Colts have won already this season, and possibly how any the Patriots have already lost.
The excitement of this rivalry already has a renewed feeling, with this surprising young Colts team carrying a four-game win streak into the competitive confines of Gillette Stadium. Many faces have changed, since the classic Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady classics of the past decade, but the team names remain the same. With so much on the line for both of these teams, this game has turned from an expected dud, to one of the most anticipated match-ups of the week.
Tom Brady is 7-3 against the Colts in regular season match-ups. Much like rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, Brady had a record of 6-3 after his first nine game as a starter. Brady doesn’t seem to slow down, even after more than a decade at the top of the NFL. The Indianapolis Colts defense, which has been suspect on the road at times this season, will have their hands full. Expect Brady to test AFC Defensive player of the week, (and former Patriot) Darius Butler, early and often. A depleted Indianapolis secondary could either save the day or lose the game against New England.
The Patriots defense hasn’t been too stout this season either. Despite having the best record in the AFC East, the Patriots have given up less than 20 points in only two games this season. They have been giving up less than 100 rushing yards per game, but are ranked 28th against the pass, allowing over 285 yards a game in the air. Andrew Luck will have his opportunities to throw the ball around to his deep group of wide receivers, but the questions is whether or not the Colts will be able to outscore New England.
Prediction – Colts 36, Pats 33