The Colts and Patriots are set to resume their playoff rivalry today, but this time Indianapolis will have a whole new look as Andrew Luck’s legacy has begun. This will be the 2nd time Luck has faced the Patriots, and he will be hoping this meeting will go better then the last time as the Patriots rolled over the Colts 59-24 at Gillette Stadium on November 18, 2012.
These two team arguably pulled off the two biggest comebacks of the year, as the Patriots came back from a 24-0 deficit at halftime to win in overtime versus Peyton Manning and the Broncos, and the Colts came back from a 28-point deficit in the 3rd quarter last week versus the Chiefs to advance to this week’s divisional round. The Colts rally was the 2nd biggest comeback in NFL playoff history.
Thanks to the Boston Globe for the photo
Patriots Offense vs. Colts Defense
The Patriots offense has come a long way from the beginning of the season, and Tom Brady seems to have found chemistry with his young receivers and most importantly his “new Welker” in Julian Edelman. As great as Brady has been, its been the running backs that have made this offense dynamic. LaGarrette Blount, Shane Vereen, and Steven Ridley are all back healthy and/or trusted with the coaches again (at least somewhat), and all are producing out of the field.
The Colts defense has been poor all season, and besides a career year from Robert Mathis, this defense has failed to impress. The weather will most likely limit both offenses to a certain extent, but by no means do I see the Colts defense getting the better of this Patriots offense.
Colts Offense vs Patriots Defense
Andrew Luck is the next great quarterback in the NFL, and for him to come into New England and get a win would be the start of a glorious career. The problem here for him and the offense is the loss of Reggie Wayne. Since Wayne went down with a season ending knee injury, the Colts have been inconsistent, and young receiver T.Y. Hilton has been getting extra attention from opposing defenses, thus limiting his production.
The Patriots defense has also had their fair share of injuries, and losing Brandon Spikes this week for the season just adds to the woes this squad has had to battle through the entire year. Will this be the final straw that will break the camels back? We will find out. Much speculation has been made that Pro Bowl corner back Aquib Talib will be shadowing T.Y. Hilton all game, but I don’t expect this to happen. Talib is a big, phyisical corner and Hilton is more of a speedy-slot receiver. There is no doubt the focus will be on Hilton and making sure he is blanketed all game, but Talib doesn’t seem like the guy to do that job. Expect Logan Ryan, a surprisingly talented rookie, to be on Hilton all game.
Vegas has the Patriots favored by 7.5 points right now, and if you are a betting man (or woman) I would be wary of putting money down on the Patriots. I feel that the Colts are outmatched in this game but Andrew Luck is no man to bet against and I expect for him to keep this one close. If I was forced to put money down on this game I would take the Patriots -7.5, but by no means do I feel good about it.
As for my prediction, I like the Patriots to win straight up. Even though I think the Patriots outmatch the Colts at nearly every position, I can’t imagine Andrew Luck being blown out. This guy looked terrible for an entire half of football and dug a 28-point hole for himself to have to try to climb out of, and he did it. Luck is only in his 2nd year and he has the poise and the short-term memory to quickly forget his mistakes and go out and be great. This guy is a stud right now and will only continue to get better. Regardless, I’ll take Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Patriots 34 – Colts 27