By: Russ Goldman
Each week I am hoping to bring a view of the upcoming game from a writer who covers the Patriots opposition, and this week I think I have one of the best sports writers in the entire country to answer some questions for us. Bob Kravitz is a columnist who covers the Colts for the Indianapolis Star, and we’re very fortunate to have his insight this week on the upcoming game.
Bob was also on “The Dennis and Callahan Morning Show” Thursday Morning discussing this match-up. If you get a chance check out this interview, which I think you’ll also find very interesting.
Here are my “Five Questions About The Upcoming Colts Game with Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star.”
“Obviously, the quarterbacks are the focus of everything. But once the Colts started figuring out how to win games after the rivalry was so one sided all those years, it became something special.” – Bob Kravitz
You have watched the rivalry between the Patriots and the Colts for the past decade. Besides the quarterbacks, why do you think this is such a special game every year?
Obviously, the quarterbacks are the focus of everything. But once the Colts started figuring out how to win games after the rivalry was so one sided all those years, it became something special. I think Belichick versus Manning makes it intriguing. I think the styles of the two teams make it compelling. They say styles make fights; you’ve got a pretty well-rounded, old school type of team in New England and a pass-happy team in Indy. The polarizing personalities on both sides, specifically Belichick and Polian. Reminds me of the Red Wings-Avalanche rivalry I covered years ago in Denver.
There has been this theory that the team that loses the Superbowl will have a tough year the next season. Do you think losing the Super Bowl has had any adverse effect on this year’s Colts team?
I don’t think the Super Bowl hangover has hit them. I think injuries have hit them. I really never thought they would fall prey to some of the things that hurt Pittsburgh and others after their SB-losing seasons. They’re just too professional to let the personal stuff overwhelm the team issues. A lot of Super Bowl losers are one-hit wonders who had a magical season and then faded. That’s not the colts, not like it isn’t the Patriots. What’s killed them is injuries.
On offense, injuries have hit the Colts with Joseph Addai missing some time and Dallas Clark being out for the season. However, the Colts are still scoring at a very good clip. Is this offense still on the same level as the one that went to last year’s Super Bowl?
Right now, this offense is a shell of its former self. It was able to lose one guy, maybe two, but not all of these guys all at the same time. The offense has been struggling for a game and a half now — nothing against Cincy and struggled the second half in Philly. Without Addai, you don’t have the great pass protection guy. Without Clark, you don’t have the security blanket, even though Jacob Tamme has played well. Without Gonzalez and Collie, you’re using Brandon James, a practice squad guy, as you’re third receiver. And the offensive line has been in flux all season.
On defense the major strength of this unit still has to be Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis up front. Would you consider the secondary the weak link of this unit or has this group become a strength?
The Colts’ defensive weaknesses seem to change week to week, usually depending on injuries. In Philly, the secondary struggled without Jerraud Powers and Jacob Lacey. Other games, the D-line has gotten pushed around. Right now, I’d worry about the linebacking, especially if Gary Brackett and Clint Session can’t go. They would be replaced by rookies. The bottom line on Indy is, if you can run on them, you can win. It’s worked for Houston, Jacksonville and Philly and almost worked for Washington. Same old, same old.
What is your key match-up for this game?
Manning v. Belichick. By the way, will Bill go for it on fourth and two again?
Mr. Kravitz is predicting a Patriots victory by 10 to 13 points. Here are his comments on his prediction.
” They’ve won 24 straight at home (or something like that), they’re healthy, they’re playing well. Conversely, the Colts are beat up and have lost three road games already, which is usually two seasons’ worth for them.”
I want to thank Bob Kravitz again for his time in answering my questions and lending his insight to this game. Please do check him out in the Indianapolis Star.