By: Russ Goldman
The Patriots (8-3) are coming off of a road victory against the Eagles, and are back in action on Sunday to face the Indianapolis Colts (0-11) at Gillette Stadium. Here’s a preview with my five keys to the game that I hope will lead to a Patriots victory.
WHERE TO WATCH: The game will be shown live on WBZ Channel 4 at 1:00 PM EST. You can also listen to the game on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston.
The Colts are coming off of a 27-19 home loss to the Carolina Panthers, and have yet to win this season. The loss of Peyton Manning to injury obviously has had a huge effect on this team. They seem to be playing out the string, and I don’t feel they will challenge the Patriots in this game.
On offense, the void at quarterback is huge without Manning. The Colts will be starting Dan Orlovsky who is a 28 year old career backup from UConn. They do still have some weapons in the passing game with wide receivers Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, and Austin Collie for the quarterback to find. At running back they have Donald Brown who leads the team with 356 yards. Offensively the Colts have struggled this season, and are ranked 31st in the NFL in total offense.
On defense, the strength of this unit are defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, with both players having 5.5 sacks each. Their linebackers are all new, and could be a group that the Patriots might try to expose. However, in the secondary, they do have pretty good cornerbacks in Jerraud Powers and Jacob Lacey.
As stated earlier, the Colts are not the same team the Patriots played at Gillette Stadium last season by a mile. I really expect the Patriots to take control of this game early, and cruise to victory.
Here are my “five keys” which I believe could play a role in a potential victory for the Pats.
1. The Patriots on offense should run right at the defensive ends of the Colts. Freeney and Mathis are excellent pass rushers, but can be liabilities in defending the run. I am hoping the Patriots run early, and often at these players.
The Colts are currently 31st in the NFL in rush defense, and this is a perfect opportunity to run the ball a great deal, and get all of your running backs involved. I know what BenJarvus Green-Ellis can do, so I would love to see Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen get some serious carries against the Colts.
2. The Patriots offense need to make their yards in the middle of the field. The Colts linebackers are young, and lack experience. Just like last week against the Eagles, I see the tight ends, and Wes Welker having huge games against the Colts. All 3 players are match-up nightmares for their opponent.
3. Andre Carter and Mark Anderson need to bring the pressure. Against an inexperienced starting quarterback, I feel a strong pass rush is definitely needed.
Some in the media are still doubting that the Patriots have a legitimate pass rush. I think this is a game to show everyone that the Patriots can get to the quarterback led by their defensive ends.
4. Jerod Mayo needs to control the middle of the defense. Mayo I feel is still recovering from an injury, but is pretty close to being back to normal. Without Brandon Spikes in the middle, Mayo will need to be the quarterback and tackling machine of the defense.
5. Kyle Arrington needs to continue to prove he can make plays. Arrington this season has been the Patriots best player in the secondary. I feel he doesn’t get the respect he deserves.
He has improved his ball skills tremendously, and already has 7 interceptions. However, there are some that still doubt his ability. This is the perfect opponent to again prove his critics wrong, and make some plays.
I feel the Colts have really mailed it in this season, and really are not playing well at all this season. I am expecting the home team to dominate this match-up, and I am predicting a 38-10 victory for the Patriots against the Colts.
What are your predictions? Feel free to post them in the comments section below.