Colts @ Patriots: Preview + Prediction

Photo: turtleboysports.com
Photo: turtleboysports.com

DISCLAIMER: Patriots fan.

Past Matchups:

In The Andrew Luck era, the Colts have faced the Patriots three times.

1. 2012 Regular Season

The Patriots beat the Colts 59-24 in this game. Andrew Luck played exceptionally well, throwing for 334 yards and two touchdowns, although with three costly interceptions. Tom Brady (evidently) played better, throwing for 331 yards, three touchdowns and zero interception.

What Has Changed Since Then?

Obviously Andrew Luck has come a long way since then, leading the NFL in passing touchdowns this year. The Colts defense seemingly hasn’t progressed much since 2012, but the Colts did have somewhat of a running game with Vick Ballard. For the Patriots, obviously this is the best defense they’ve had since probably 2004. Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker were also on this 2012 team, as well as an injured Gronk, but I’d say the passing game is the best it’s been since 2007.

2. 2014 Postseason (2013 Season)

The Patriots defeated the Colts 43-22 in this divisional round matchup. Andrew Luck threw for 331 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw four interceptions, as well as completed less than half his passes. Tom Brady’s states were deflated by the fact that this was the best rushing game for the Patriots in franchise history. LeGarrette Blount rushed for FOUR touchdowns and 166 yards, and Stevan Ridley rushed for two touchdowns and 52 yards. The Colts had 69 rushing yards total.

What Has Changed Since Then?

For the Colts, not much. The only certainty is that Donald Brown won’t be their leading rusher. The Patriots certainly haven’t had this sort of rushing performance since then (except for the next item on this list). And the Patriots acquired a man named Darrelle Revis, who put an end to T.Y. Hilton’s scorching of this defense in this game and the last, even though his team was scorched.

3. 2014 Regular Season

Only a couple of months ago, the Patriots defeated the Colts 42-0. Andrew Luck threw for 303 yards and two touchdowns, only throwing one interception in this game. Tom Brady’s stats weren’t great, throwing for 257 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. But again, it was the running game that won the game for the Patriots. Jonas Gray ran the ball 37 times, amounting to 201 yards and four touchdowns.

What Has Changed Since Then?

For starters, we’ve seen very little of Jonas Gray since this game. He’s been on Bill’s shit list ever since he overslept for practice in the week following this game. But that’s pretty much it. This game wasn’t that long ago.

Respective Rankings:

Colts:

Team Offense: 6th

Passing Offense: 1st

Rushing Offense: 22nd

Scoring Offense: 6th (28.6 points/game)

Team Defense: 19th

Passing Defense: 12th

Rushing Defense: 18th

Patriots:

Team Offense: 4th

Passing Offense: 9th

Rushing Offense: 18th

Scoring Offense: 4th (29.3 points/game)

Team Defense: 8th

Passing Defense: 17th

Rushing Defense: 9th

Prediction:

I see no reason why the Patriots shouldn’t win this game. The Colts have a strong passing offense, and that’s really it. Andrew Luck will have to play perfect and then some for the Colts to win this game. Tom Brady can make mistakes and just play okay for the Patriots to win. The past two games have been characterized by Colts defenders diving out-of-the-way as a Patriots running back runs to daylight. And this time, both Jonas Gray and LeGarrette Blount are in the game. Not to mention Brandon Bolden. Until he proves me wrong, I have no reason to believe Andrew Luck can beat the Patriots, especially at Gillette. I can see that the Patriots statistically have a worse rushing offense than the Colts, and the explanation for that is quite simple: the Colt’s rushing offense is consistently abysmal, and the Patriots pick and choose where to unleash their running game. Unless Andrew Luck and Coby Fleener single-handedly beat the Patriots, combined with some defensive luck (no pun intended), there’s no way the Colts win this game.

Side Note: I swear to Christ if Adam Vinatieri kicks a game winning field goal. He has more rings than Brady and Belichick, so we need this Super Bowl ring more than ever.