New England Patriots Cannot Take the Indianapolis Colts Lightly

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Yes, he has struggled and been injured, but Andrew Luck has not turned into “Andrew Suck”. He is still a top quarterback in the NFL and clearly among the best quarterback the Patriots will face this season. Even if he is not playing due to his injured shoulder, Hasselbeck has set a good example for Luck by getting the ball out quickly and effectively instead of holding the ball in the pocket.

Luck’s biggest problem is still inexperience, not the offensive line or lack of talent around him. He has the smarts, the arm, the footwork, the size, and can make every throw inside or outside the pocket. His problem is like many young quarterbacks suffer from, which is learning when to rifle it into a tiny window, when to throw it away, and when that alarm in his head goes off to get rid of the ball and go after it on the next down.

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The Colts offensive line has been much maligned in the press, but it is no coincidence that they have improved with Hasselbeck at quarterback. Luck may make the line look bad since he will wait so long for his receivers to get downfield. Tackles Anthony Castonzo and Joe Reitz are solid and second year guard Jack Mewhort is a budding star.

The Colts added Ahmad Bradshaw as insurance for running back Frank Gore this week which was wise considering the miles on Gore’s odometer. Gore is still averaging 4.3 yards per carry and while he has not hit 100 yards rushing in a game, he has hit 86 yards in week 3 and 98 in week 5.

The Patriots had some struggles against the run early in the season but tightened up against Dallas last week. A better performance by in the middle–particularly by Sealver Siliga, Dominique Easley and rookie Malcom Brown–and strong play setting the edge by Chandler Jones and Jabaal Sheard helped contain the Cowboys running backs. They will need another strong game to slow Gore.

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At wide receiver the Colts still run the offense through multi-level threat T.Y. Hilton who has 27 catches for 382 yards. New England had used Kyle Arrington to slow Hilton in the past, but Arrington is in Baltimore this season. Tarell Brown may be the best bet to shadow Hilton, but he missed practice this week with a lingering foot injury.

The New England secondary is thin compared to last season and the Colts have the weapons to exploit the group. The Colts can roll out young receiver Donte Moncrief and his 24 catches for 278 yards and 3 touchdowns as well as veteran Andre Johnson who had 6 catches for 77 yards and 2 touchdowns last week. Also, first round draft pick Phillip Dorsett is being worked into the lineup.

Indianapolis can also go two tight ends just like the Patriots and dictate the matchups with the defense. Both Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen are strong receivers who could take advantage of a linebacker group that may be without Dont’a Hightower (rib injury) and take advantage of Jerod Mayo possibly being forced into coverage.