It’s Championship weekend in the NFL, and with just three football games remaining on the season, the intensity has surely been ramped up to an all-time high. Last week saw a great slate of football games being played out, and I ended up 1-1 after a puzzling Broncos outing against the Indianapolis Colts. Today those Colts will look to carry their momentum into Foxboro, a place that has been bad news for Andrew Luck and his team in recent years. The Patriots have simply owned Luck, beating the Colts three times since 2012, all by margins of 21, 22 and 35 points. But as many would agree, Luck is the next big thing at the quarterbacking position, and has a real opportunity to prove that today. It promises to be a thrilling affair at Foxboro today. Are the Colts ready for the next step? Read on below to find out with our game breakdown and official wager, as we’ll look to improve to a 4-1 record in this column for the post-season.
Colts vs. Patriots Betting Odds:
Indianapolis Colts +7 (-110)
@ New England Patriots -7 (-110)
Over 53.5 (-110)
Under 53.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
MUST SEE: Bovada.lv has a High Credit Card Acceptance Rate for United States Sports Bettors!
Troubles depositing? Bovada.lv has a variety of great deposit options plus are awarding new depositors $100 in FREE Money Bonuses! *check local laws Click here for full details...
Colts vs. Patriots Pick:
The Colts have a ton of offensive potential, but it’s truly just a matter of harnessing it correctly going against a team as dangerous as the New England Patriots. For starters, they’ll need a productive running game so Andrew Luck doesn’t feel the need to be a one-man show and do it all himself. If he gets sucked into that, turnovers will arise, and that’ll be the end of the Colts chances. Look for Indy to establish a solid ground attack early and often in the 1st quarter. Last time these two squads met, the Colts were brutal with the running game and turned away from it fairly quick. That shouldn’t be the case today as Dan Herron adds a new element to the offense, and the Colts O-Line seems to finally be solidified. Their revamped unit has handled things brilliantly of late, including holding the likes of Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware to very quiet outings last week. Herron should be able to keep third downs manageable for Luck and the Colts, putting them in favourable situations throughout the game. New England has struggled all year with their 3rd down defense, and that’s an area where Indianapolis can hold a decisive advantage.
Even through the air the Colts should get their chances. Just like the Ravens did last week, the Colts have some huge big-play abilities. T.Y. Hilton can get open against any defensive back and should avoid Darrelle Revis. Instead it’ll likely be Kyle Arrington on him for the duration of this contest. Arrington played him tight in Week 11, but Hilton is such an elite talent that I can’t see him being limited once again. Where the Pats really struggle through the air is defending the tight end position, where they rank 30th in the NFL. As you know the Colts have a couple of solid tight ends in Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen. It was the former who torched New England in Week 11, and that duo will be key options for Luck out of the pocket today. Indianapolis possesses so much receiving talent that they’ll be able to spread out the Pats’ D and not make Revis so impactful.
When the Patriots have the ball they’ll surely be trying to replicate the recipes of past outings against the Colts. Indianapolis has looked brutal on defense at times this season, especially against New England. That said, there is some renewed hope among the Colts defensive unit with the way they’ve played in recent weeks. While you can discredit the Bengals and Broncos’ fading attacks, the point is the Colts enter in-form and possess one of the hottest defenses this post-season. The last two times they’ve played New England, the Pats had an extra week to prepare for the Colts’ defensive looks – not so this time around. Add in the fact that the Patriots running game is just too erratic and unreliable to be counted upon. It’s been abandoned many times this year, and could get forgotten about again today.
The key for the Colts on defense will be if they load up to stop the run, can they limit Brady through the air? While they don’t have a dominant pass rusher, the Ravens had about four and it made no difference. Where the Colts are better than the Ravens, is downfield pass coverage. With the trio of Vontae Davis, Greg Toler and Darius Butler, Indianapolis should be able to limit Brady’s downfield attempts. However where the Colts really need to focus is monitoring Gronkowski in short-yardage situations through the middle. If they can do that, the Colts have a chance. Indy’s D will be all about holding on, bending but not breaking, and I think they’ve got a solid shot with the way they’ve been playing.
We’ve seen it many times in many post-seasons. A team gets hot, in this case led by Andrew Luck and his surprising defense, and rides the momentum to the Super Bowl. While I’m not sure the Colts are ready for an outright victory, they really should be able to keep things close today. Much has been made about past meetings between these two teams, but Luck is more mature and now with Arthur Jones stuffing the run, Indianapolis stands a much better shot. The Patriots are a stellar 19-8 in the post-season under the legendary Bill Belechick, but all eight of those losses have come against teams they played in the regular season. That bodes well for Luck and the Colts. Not to mention, it has also been very profitable betting against number 1 or 2 seeds when they’re receiving greater than 50% of the betting action. Backing the underdog in this situation is 27-9 (75%) since 2004, another good omen for the Colts. While I don’t think the Colts can pull off the outright win, it’ll go back-and-forth all game and should result in a cover.
PICK = Colts +7 (-110)