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SNF: Brady vs Pe...oh wait. Patriots @ Colts


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Saturday Night Football

8:15 p.m. ET (NFL Network) | Lucas Oil Stadium (Although we all know the game won't start until 8:30-8:45)

The hottest team in the NFL is heading to Indianapolis. Winners of seven straight, the New England Patriots will face the host Indianapolis Colts, who have won four of five with dynamic running back Jonathan Taylor leading the way. Two opportunistic defenses and two top-10 rushing attacks highlight a Saturday night showdown with massive playoff implications. After a year hiatus from the postseason, Bill Belichick and the Patriots could end Week 15 with their playoff ticket punched, while Frank Reich’s Colts are looking to cling to the sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture. Two teams playing their best football down the stretch will lock up in prime time on Saturday evening.

Here are three things to watch for when the Colts host the Patriots on NFL Network:

  1. New QBs, new eras in Pats-Colts rivalry. Once a perennial matchup between AFC heavyweights, this Patriots-Colts clash will be the first without Tom Brady or Peyton Manning playing since Week 14, 1997 when Drew Bledsoe’s Pats got the best of a Jim Harbaugh-led Indy squad. New eras are upon the Colts and Patriots, with Carson Wentz in his first season with Indianapolis and Mac Jones aiming to lead New England back to the playoffs while possibly garnering AP Offensive Rookie of the Year honors along the way. Jones has a shot at history on Saturday as he can become the first rookie quarterback to win seven road games since QB starts were first tracked in 1950, per NFL Research. Leading the Pats to a 6-0 road record, Jones has shown that he’s up to the task in all weathers, whether that’s attempting just three throws as he did in a Week 13 victory or throwing for 300-plus yards as he did in a Week 12 win. In Indy, Wentz’ offseason addition via trade was seen as a risky proposition by many, but he’s had an excellent season for the most part, throwing for 22 touchdowns and just five interceptions (third-best TD-INT ratio in the NFL). With four games still to play, Wentz has already surpassed the amount of wins, yards passing and touchdowns thrown he had in his final, dreary season with the Eagles in 2020.
  2. Can Patriots’ stingy defense stop Jonathan Taylor? The Colts RB leads the NFL in rushing yards (1,348), rushing touchdowns (16), scrimmage yards (1,684), scrimmage TDs (18) and Pro Bowl voting, pacing the NFL’s No. 2 rushing offense. But how will Taylor fare against a sturdy Patriots defense piloted by Bill Belichick? This will be the 21st time Belichick has coached against a player with 1,000-plus rushing yards entering a matchup and the Hoodie is an amazing 18-2 in such encounters, per NFL Research. The Colts, the No. 3 scoring offense, will face the No. 1 scoring defense, which is armed with a bevy of individual defensive talent such as pass rusher Matt Judon (12.5 sacks) and cornerback J.C. Jackson (AFC-high seven interceptions). Taylor has scored a touchdown in 10 consecutive games. He’s also rushed for more than 100 yards in seven games this year, with the Colts having gone 7-0 in those instances. How Taylor fares against Belichick’s defense might well tell the tale in this one.
  3. Will Colts D take away a win? The Patriots’ defense will rightfully get attention aplenty heading into this one, but the Darius Leonard-led Colts are no slouches either. Indianapolis leads the NFL with 29 takeaways this season and is thus far the only team to force a turnover in every game. Not to be overlooked has been the excellent play of former Patriots defensive back Kenny Moore II, who leads Indy with four interceptions and 11 passes defended. So far, the Colts are 2-0 against rookie QBs this year. If they can rattle Jones and force the fundamentally sound Patriots into some sloppy play, a big win might be in store for Indy.


I'm not certain on the injury/COVID list (I tried to check but all available info seem to be all over the place at the time of writing this depending on where you look)

NE just looks so well-rounded right now. Good defense and special teams that is mixed with an efficient offense that isn't asking their rookie QB to do too much. They're not asking him to win games for them, but to simply not lose them. Which is not a bad thing by any means, and is the right approach IMO. And Jones is not only embarrassing it.... but feeding off of it and gaining confidence in the process.

Here are the match-up numbers courtesy of Football Outsiders



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No Damien Harris tonight for the Patriots. I think that means we are probably going to see much more passing tonight. Stevenson isn’t going to get 35 carries tonight. I just don’t see that happening.  

So I guess we’ll see just how well Mac can carry the offense. I’m a little concerned about how well the Patriots can contain Taylor, but I’m expecting a short-passing; ball-control; grind it out game plan vs. the Colts to keep him on the sideline. I know this would be completely out of character for the Patriots, but that’s what I think is going to go down. 

Patriots by a field goal. 

Edited by rfournier103
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1 hour ago, notthatbluestuff said:

At the risk of posting something for people to quote and laugh at after the game, I'm taking the Colts tonight. Indy's defense is talented and could create issues for Mac. If Belichick wants to focus on nullifying Taylor, Wentz could surprise - he's been playing very well lately. 

I am certain Bill Belichick will not underestimate Carson Wentz, especially coming off a bye week. There have been a handful of very rare occasions where it seemed like Belichick was caught off guard by a quarterback who completely came out of nowhere, or played out of his mind on that particular day - but it hasn’t happened very often. And I don’t think Wentz and the Colts are going to get the drop on the Patriots coming off a bye week. If the Colts win tonight, it will come down to execution, plain and simple. Frank Reich is one of the best coaches in the league, and the Colts will be ready. 

If this doesn’t turn out to be one of the best games of the year, I’ll be shocked. 

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2 minutes ago, KManX89 said:

You're telling me you're not gonna run it one time opening drive against the 19th-ranked run D with Jonathan freaking Taylor🤦‍♂️

It's the Patriots superpower. Teams lose iq points when they play against them... 

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4 minutes ago, KManX89 said:

You're telling me you're not gonna run it one time opening drive against the 19th-ranked run D with Jonathan freaking Taylor🤦‍♂️

Welcome to Colts football, Reich will say that either they ran an RPO and switched to a run or the Patriots stacked the box which made it tougher to run. Either excuse ignores that Taylor actually runs better against stacked boxes but….

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