This Sunday the New England Patriots match up with the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night football. Now I won’t come right out and say that it’s a must win for the Patriots, but I do like the sound of them 6-2 as opposed to 5-3 after this game. If it’s a must win for either team it’s the Colts who have lost two games in a row, and are sitting at 3-4 on the season. For the Colts another lost will spell them beginning of the end for them and their post season hopes. For the Patriots it makes the entire division a whole lot tighter in the AFC East. So it’s time for this weeks keys to victory for New England over Indianapolis.
1 – Control The Clock:
This is easier said than done, but for the Patriots playing this game without running backs Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan due to injuries. It places more pressure on Matt Cassel and Kevin Faulk who now are the keys to the clock management game. Faulk is mostly used on third down running plays but until the others return, he’ll be called upon with rookie BenJarvus Green-Ellis to fill the voids. The Patriots must be able to convert first downs and move the ball against a weak Colts defense. Cassel needs to remain calm in the pocket, use his legs to scramble for a few yards when the receivers are not open. If Cassel uses the tools in his tool box during the game and plays smartly, it helps New England greatly. One it allows them to control the tempo of the game, gives them scoring chances and keeps Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and the offense off the field. If we can do those things it increases the odds of a victory for New England.
2 – Pressure Peyton Manning:
The Patriots need to figure away to pressure Manning just like they have been able to in past meetings. Everyone in the league knows that if your able to pressure and get in Manning’s face you force him to make bad decisions. Our linebackers Adalius Thomas, Tedy Bruschi need to work with the defensive ends in Richard Seymour and Ty Warren to mix up the pressure’s and not allow Manning the time to sit back in the pocket and wait for his lanes to open up in the passing game. Any and all help the defensive line can produce will take pressure off our secondary which we all know is hurting and banged up.
3 – Forget The Injuries:
Yes injuries are a part of the game but it seems in New England we have dealt with them over the last few years on a consistent basis. We lost Tom Brady, and Rodney Harrison and toss in Laurence Maroney to that list. It’s part of the game, just means another player will step up and fill the void hopefully. Look at the Colts they have their own concerns in dealing with Joseph Addai, Reggie Wayne, Dominic Rhodes and just losing starting corner back Marlin Jackson for the year. The old injury bug is creeping up on both sides. Fine if Addai and Wayne play it makes the challenge tougher but not impossible. Continue to run our offense the way we have adapted for this entire year. Play our style of football not theirs, and allow our team to relax, get into the flow of the game and most importantly control the tempo of the game. Our secondary is like Swiss cheese, we have holes in it majorly. Most likely they will be exposed and picked on that’s fine, keep the big plays on the Colts part to a minimal. Allow the rookies and younger players to show the league why we selected them, let’s help them build their confidence up. And pray it’s enough vs the Colts offense that can be running on high octane one moment then on fumes the next.
4 - Special Teams:
As in every NFL game we have special teams, sometimes they decide a game, and other times they can either help or hurt your team. The Patriots ST’s have helped throughout the season on a regular basis. The leg of kicker Stephen Gostkowski who’s been booming kick-offs and pinning opposing teams deep into their territory will be once again relied upon this weekend. Matt Slater and the Pro Bowl big play maker Larry Izzo will need to do what they do best. Gain yardage in the return game and make a few big plays. Look for Faulk and Wes Welker to provide their normal contributions on punts and kick-offs. As for the Colts we all know who’s kicking for them, it’s none other than Adam Vinatieri. Yes, that Vinatieri that has kicked New England into Super Bowl victories in the past and provided help in the Colts most recent win in the Super Bowl. The trader who went to the dark side, and now belongs with the enemy. You were once immortalized in New England for your heroics, now your name is loathed by most, not all, but close. Time will tell, and a few missed kicks this weekend might help restore your name in our neck of the woods.
5 – Remember The Past:
Look at old game films and remember what and how we did in the past to shut the Colts down. But the check the films of the AFC Championship game a few years back and don’t forget the Colts were able to overcome a huge second half deficit and go on to win the Super Bowl. Watch it, learn from it, utilize the films and go play the game with the best possible plan of attack. It’s in Indy this time, they have their fans, who are hungry and desperate for a win. Let’s go in there and rip their hearts out, kill their playoff hopes and dreams. Improve our standings in the conference and division and make the league realize, you might have counted us out, but you haven’t knocked us out. GO PATRIOTS LET’S DO THIS, GO INTO INDY AND LEAVE WITH A VICTORY. JUST A GREAT WAY TO CAP OFF HALLOWEEN AND MY DAUGHTER’S 5TH BIRTHDAY WEEKEND IN MY BOOK! HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEETIE…..I LOVE YOU!
Tags: Adalius Thomas Adam Vinatieri BenJarvus Green-Ellis Dominic Rhodes Indianapolis Colts Joseph Addai Kevin Faulk LaMont Jordan Larry Izzo Laurence Maroney Marlin Jackson Matt Cassel Matt Slater New England Patriots Peyton Manning Reggie Wayne Richard Seymour Rodney Harrison Sammy Morris Stephen Gostkowski Tedy Bruschi Tom Brady Ty Warren Wes Welker