It is funny to think that 6-3 is a disappointing start, but for the Patriots, a team that expects perfection, 6-3 is not good enough. Nevertheless, whatever the Patriots think, 6-3 is still a good start. They are in prime position to capture the AFC East crown without much competition from the Bills, Dolphins, or Jets. While they haven’t hit their peak, I believe the Patriots are going to cruise into the playoffs with the remaining schedule they have. At the most I think they drop 2 more games. They still have one more game against the dysfunctional Jets and haven’t sunk their teeth into the Dolphins yet this season. Tom Brady’s counterpart, Andrew Luck, is trying to do his best Peyton Manning impression with the Colts. Luck is fresh off a game where he passed for 433 on the Dolphins, a rookie NFL record. Luck will get another chance to knock off an AFC East opponent today against the Patriots in Foxborough.
Like so many other teams in the NFL, the Patriots are clicking on offense, but the defense has been a work in progress. This isn’t your 2003-2004 Patriots team. They are a team that will try and score as much as possible, employing a hurry up lightning fast no huddle attack. The all offense no defense approach nearly brought them another Super Bowl last season, but a Wes Welker drop was the difference between a championship and disappointment. The offense is back and better than ever, though. One thing they have this year that they have long desired since Corey Dillion has been with the team is a running game. Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead, and Shane Vereen have brought a vaunted ground game to the Patriots arsenal in 2012. All bring something different to their offense which makes it work so well. The running game ranks 5th in the NFL, averaging 146 yards a game. Of course, the passing game is firing on all cylinders this year as well but they are much more balanced. It has worked to their benefit as they average 33.2 points a game.
There is no denying that the Colts are going to have their hands full with Tom Brady and the Patriots. They certainly haven’t played an offense of this caliber yet, and doing it on the road at Gillette no less. The Colts defense rank around the middle at 18th, allowing 350 yards per game. They do have some troubles against the run (22nd), so I expect the Patriots to rely on their running game early and often. It would be quite impressive if the defense was able to go into Foxborough and make some noise, but I don’t see that transpiring.
The Colts offense has been rejuvenated under highly coveted rookie Andrew Luck. Luck has passed for 2631 yards and 16 touchdowns with 9 interceptions. He has a promising future in the NFL, but is still going through growing pains in his first season as a pro. Nevertheless, the Colts have reeled off 4 straight victories under Luck, 5-1 in their last six games. The offense ranks 5th in the NFL, averaging 387 yards per game, but only scoring 20.7 a game. Luck will be going up against a porous pass defense in New England that ranks 27th in the league allowing 285 yards per game. The Patriots acquired the talented cornerback Aqib Talib from the Buccaneers two weeks ago and will be making his first start as a Patriot against the Colts. Talib is a gifted corner, so this gives the Patriots a huge boost in the secondary.
Colts vs. Patriots Spread and Betting Odds:
Indianapolis Colts +9 (-105)
@New England Patriots -9 (-115)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Colts vs. Patriots Pick:
The Colts have undoubtedly been a feel good story in the NFL this season. Head coach Chuck Pageno is undergoing treatment for cancer and the team has rallied around him to a 6-3 start. Many players even shaved their head in respects to their coach. I think in front of a national television audience, though, the Colts are going to be in for a rude awakening. The Bills nearly stole one against the Pats last week, but I think this is a perfect chance for them to go steamroll an opponent at home. They are usually good for two or three blowouts a year in front of their home crowd against inferior opponents.
The acquisition of Aqib Talib is being overlooked by many, but I think he may turn some heads as a Patriot. He hasn’t played in four weeks due to a suspension, so he should be fresh on Sunday. While statistically they look awful with yardage allowed, they still do force a ton of turnovers and put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. I could see Chandler Jones and company forcing the rookie into mistakes in this one. Brady is going to show Luck why he’s the future hall of famer and he is the rookie. Luck and the Colts may get their points, but not enough to keep up with the Patriots after an average performance last week.
PICK = Patriots -9