The time has come for the always anticipated Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots game. Or wait, is it still anticipated? With Peyton Manning now playing for the Denver Broncos and rookie Andrew Luck at the helm, this game has completely changed. Its gone from a battle of future hall of famers to a battle of young versus old. Tom Brady is established while Luck is having a rookie season to remember. He has completely transformed a defeated Colts team that was 2-14 last season to a 6-3 team that we could see in the playoffs.
Tom Brady will take on Andrew Luck and hopefully his experience will win out in the battle of young versus old. (FILE:USPresswire)
On Sunday the Patriots will be up against yet another rookie with nothing to lose. Luck has already proven he is a legitimate player and can lead a team. It is the Patriots’ job to shut him down early and watch out for an always dangerous Reggie Wayne. He leads the team with 931 receiving yards, good enough for second in the league behind Calvin Johnson. The good news is that Luck is more of a traditional NFL quarterback. He isn’t a threat to run but he can work outside of the pocket. We know the Patriots needed a complete overhaul after their poor performance last week and here are three things they’ll need to do in order to succeed on Sunday.
1. Make Adjustments When Necessary What we haven’t seen from the Patriots so far this season is a lot of in game adjustments. Due to the versatility of Wayne, they’re going to need to actually do this on Sunday. They’ll use him for the shorter passes as well as the down the field shots. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots defense chooses to cover him. Indianapolis is no joke when it comes to offense. They are the sixth best in the league averaging just over 20 points per game. Their defense is matched with the Patriots when it comes to points allowed giving up 22 points per game, so this could turn into more of an offensive matchup than we bargained for.
2. Win the Special Teams Battle This team needs to step up on special teams. They about break even with the yards they allow on kickoff returns and the yards they pick up. We haven’t seen a solid special teams unit in years, we’ve only been given the glimmers of great runbacks that are not frequent enough. Should this game become more about the offense, special teams is going to play a big part. Bill Belichick talks every week about the three phases of the game and it’s about time the Patriots make some sort of move here.
3. Convert Third Down Opportunities The Patriots have allowed opponents to convert on just over 44% of their third down attempts this season. Meanwhile the Colts only let teams pick up the third down 37& of the time. Offensively these two teams are ranked first (Patriots) and third (Colts) when it comes to third down conversions. It’s a close matchup with the Colts defense statistically winning out. It will be important for Brady and this offense to convert on every opportunity. The run game needs a rebound and with Wes Welker missing some practice this week with an ankle injury, they have their work cutout for them.
So is this the start of a new era? Sunday is set to be a teacher versus student type of atmosphere and it has become more of a buildup than I think anyone could have anticipated in September. The Patriots still have a lot of improving to do and on Sunday let’s hope they give us a little bit more breathing room and control the game early.