We’ve uncharacteristically had some good Thursday Night Football games thus far this season. This would have been a really good matchup about five years ago, and even better when Peyton Manning was in Indianapolis. Nevertheless, Andrew Luck and Tom Brady will draw a crowd, especially with the Patriots beginning to get their offense put together. They put together a horrific performance with only three wide receivers only the roster a couple weeks ago against the Lions.
The Pats followed it up with a dominant performance over the Miami Dolphins in Foxborough last week. With Josh Gordon installed into the offense, it immediately opened up things for Brady. Not only as a target on the field, but as a decoy and blocker downfield. Surprisingly, Gordon had some impressive in the blocking game last week to free up some runs. That’s a good indicator that he wants to contribute and play football in New England. Gordon also looks physically in shape as ever before.
The Colts are going to have to worry about another receiver that is going to be fresh going into this matchup, Julian Edelman. Edelman’s suspension has been served, so he is free to return to the lineup in Week 5 against the Colts. If you recall, Edelman blew his knee out in the preseason last season against the Lions. That put to bed any chance of playing in the regular season, so it’s been a while since Edelman has seen the field in a meaningful way. You have to go back to the Super Bowl against the Falcons, a game that he played extremely well in by the way, to find the last game.
The suspension may have been in a blessing in disguise, as it gave Edelman some extra time to rest the knee. The first four weeks of the season aren’t as important as later in the season, which barring injury, they will have the services of Edelman. The Colts are coming off a grueling matchup against the Texans, a 37-34 loss. It was a hard loss and they have injuries to show for the loss as well.
The Colts were so banged up after the game that they opted to skip practices this week and just go straight to walkthroughs. It’s an interesting strategy by Frank Reich, especially because of the guy they have to prepare for on the other side of the field. The Patriots may be down Rob Gronkowski, but Belichick, naturally, isn’t saying anything to the media.
He’s missed practice with an ankle injury and is questionable to play this week. Questionable might be as good as probable with the Pats, but with the return of Edelman and Gordon getting involved in the offense, his loss wouldn’t be as hard felt as a couple of weeks ago. T.Y. Hilton has been ruled out in this one for the Colts. Head below for our free Colts vs. Patriots pick on Thursday Night Football in the NFL.
Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots NFL Week 5 Betting Odds:
vs. Patriots -10(-112)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Colts vs. Patriots Pick:
Losing Hilton will sting for Luck and the offense, but the biggest lost for the Colts going into this game may be the absence of slot cornerback Kenny Moore. Moore has proven to be a reliable option for the Colts in that role, as he has been a rising-star in his second season in 2018. The Colts will have to figure something else out with Edelman back in the slot in the Pats’ offense.
Rookie running back Sonny Michel had a breakout game last week, as he rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown on 25 attempts. Not getting enough credit for that performance is offensive tackle Marcus Cannon who returned to the lineup last week. His importance in the New England offense is immense and goes beyond what a casual fan notices watching the Patriots.
Combined with Gordon stretching the field as a decoy, there will opportunities galore underneath for short passes and the running game. Deshaun Watson passed for 375 yards last week on the Colts, and I think he left some yards on the field as well. Receivers were springing free all over the field, and now with no Moore at corner, it poses a major challenge for the Colts’ secondary. Also, starters Hassan Ridgeway, Darius Leonard, and Quincy Wilson are all questionable to play on Thursday night.
Luck made a whopping 62 pass attempts against the Texans, completing 40 passes. Their leading rusher had just 8 attempts for 16 yards. With the expectation that Brady and the Patriots’ offense will dice up the Colts’ defense, look for Luck to air it out frequently again this week. The Patriots will likely strike early to take a lead and put pressure on the Colts.
They should be able to open up a comfortable lead in the second-half, which is going to have Luck firing non-stop, something he has been accustomed to doing in Indianapolis. Even with no Hilton, I don’t see the Patriots’ secondary being able to play like they did last week against the Dolphins. Despite that, I don’t see how the Colts are going to slow down the Pats’ offense without practicing this week. They have limited tape on Gordon in this offense and now they’re just going to wing it on the road in Foxborough. Gordon is listed as questionable on the injury report, but don’t be surprised if he’s there all season given the history of the Patriots.
Look for Gordon to have his first big reception downfield on Thursday night. If the Patriots rack up the points, their defense may just go into prevent mode which would give some free yardage to the Colts. It’s never a good feeling when you are laying double digits on the spread, but is always good if you just need more points on the board. A 35-23 final in favor of the Patriots looks good here for a lean on the Patriots and play on the OVER.