-It’s official, the Patriots will face the Colts on Saturday night. Not quite the Brady vs Manning matchups of old, but this Luck kid is pretty good, and I think he played a pretty decent game this weekend, no? This matchup will be broken down extensively here at Musketfire, but in short, any team that gives up 44 points at home to a Jamaal Charles-less Chiefs team, much less one helmed by Alex Smith is vulnerable. Belichick isn’t taking them lightly, nor am I, but it does present some opportunities.
– Field Yates has a nice piece on getting familiar with the Colts and their key personnel. Aqib Talib could potentially have a huge matchup with Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton and limiting his impact would go a long way in securing a playoff win. Personally the matchup I am most interested in seeing, and will be watching closely all game is Nate Solder against Robert Mathis. Mathis had 19.5 sacks this year and stopping him is a must if the Patriots want to keep their offense rolling. Another key is to get the running game going; nothing slows down a pass rush like a punishing run game (hello Mr Ridley, Mr Blount and Mr Vereen).
-Chris Burke over at SI.com has a brief overview of all the divisional round matchups. He highlights the fact that a key for the Colts will be getting Donald Brown going against the Patriots 30th ranked rush defense. An easy way for the Patriots to help out with that? Get up on the Colts early.
– NFL.com has their early previews of the divisional round matchups here and for the overall playoff picture you can head here. Exciting first round of games this weekend, and I expect more of the same this weekend.
-For those watching the game at home, this will be Dan Dierdorf’s final game of his career.