The New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts will be battling it out in a rivalry renewed this afternoon at 4:25 p.m. ET at Gillette before a crowd of nearly 69,000. The highly-anticipated matchup between legend Tom Brady and rookie Andrew Luck will be an incredible one to watch, especially since Brady has been the best QB in the league this year and Luck has been near the top five.
The game will be televised on CBS to a national audience in the new flex spot, because this game is just that good. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will once again be calling the game, with Simms being a huge upgrade over Dan Fouts from last week’s locally broadcasted game against the Buffalo Bills from CBS. You can always listen to the game on 98.5, and Dial Global Sports will have Tony Boselli and Tom McCarthy calling the game via radio to a national audience.
New England Patriots Pass Offense vs. Indianapolis Colts Pass Defense
The New England Patriots have had the most efficient passing attack in the NFL, because Tom Brady has the lowest INT% in the NFL and has been the best QB in the league this season. What makes things even worse for the Indianapolis Colts is that their secondary is really banged up. Vontae Davis has been ruled out, and Cassius Vaughn and Darius Butler will be the starting corners.
Butler will be looking for vengeance against his former team, and he will try to build on a two-interception game last week. But by and large, every Colts corner should be in for a rough game even with Aaron Hernandez most likely out for the third straight week. Brandon Lloyd holds a huge advantage over this secondary, and it’s the same group that allowed Cecil Shorts to burn them badly last week in front of a national audience.
Antoine Bethea and Tom Zbikowski are two solid veteran safeties at the back end, but Bethea is mainly a run-support safety. He gets caught out of position often, and I don’t think he can hang with Rob Gronkowski if called upon to do so.
The best chance the Colts have at stopping the Patriots offense is by covering the deep ball and making sure Robert Mathis and the pass rush can disrupt Brady’s timing. Even without Logan Mankins, that still will be a tall order for the Colts due to the excellent play of the Patriots offensive line this season.
Patriots Run Offense vs. Colts Run Defense
The Colts allow 4.7 yards per carry on run defense, and that’s a statistic that doesn’t bode well against Stevan Ridley, who is averaging 4.7 yards per attempt on his own this season. Expect another good game out of him, and he has a great chance at hitting 100 rushing yards after narrowly missing that total last week against the Bills.
Shane Vereen might not have the best of games against a Colts run defense that is better at stopping running backs like Vereen, but I could see Danny Woodhead having a week similar to last week against Buffalo; especially as a pass-catcher.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.
Continue Reading for my thoughts on how the Indianapolis Colts offense matches up with the New England Patriots defense, as well as my final prediction.