The Patriots schedule has not gotten any easier over the last few weeks and this week they have another tough matchup facing the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are 6-3 and are coming off an interesting win against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Colts are a pass heavy team, and Manning only threw for 185 yards last weeks. It surprisingly turned out to be quite a defensive game. Anyways, that was a rare occasion for Manning and the Colts and I would not look for that to carry over into this week. The Patriots on the other hand, are coming off their best win of the season, beating the Pittsburgh Steelers on national TV. Everything looked great for the Pats last week and if they want to beat a solid Colts team, they are going to have to bring everything they did last week. However, they will have to change their game plan up a little for this matchup.
The Colts run-defense ranks 29th in the league which has been a big problem for them all season. Both of these offenses like relying on the pass, but if the Patriots want to dominate this game, they are going to have to run the ball. Benjarvus Green-Ellis had 18 carries last week and ran extremely well against the best rush defense. The Patriots HAVE TO give him the ball again this week. He has proven he is a good runner when given the opportunity. He needs to have 20+ touches in order for the Patriots to win this game. He is definitely going to be the X-Factor and I see him producing as long as he gets the ball. The Colts pass-defense is much better ranking 10th in the league. That being said without dominating WRs, the Patriots should keep the ground game active. One thing the Patriots should do with their passing game is get Wes Welker the ball much like they did last week. He is the best WR they have and he runs his routes so well; he is just a huge help to this offense when he gets the ball. This week Brady should continue to look his way and target him 12+ times.
As for the Patriots defense, they have been dominant lately and are playing extremely well. Unfortunately, their pass-defense is ranked 3rd worst in the league. Only the Redskins and Texans are allowing more pass yards per game. Manning likes to throw the ball close to 50 times a game when he can, and the Patriots are going to have to find some way to slow him down. The Colts have a great offensive line and it will be tough to get to Manning. In my opinion, the best way to put some pressure on him is to blitz a lot and run press coverages at the same time. That will hopefully maintain the Colts’ WRs and prevent them from getting open so quickly. Another thing they can do is run some corner blitzes and try and force Manning to make quick decision. Granted Manning is great at making quick decisions, it will definitely be a difficult task.
This should be a great game between two of the top teams in the AFC. If either team wants to win, it will be based on how well their offense is able to break down the opposing defense (Patriots need to run the ball well, while the Colts will be passing often). Based on the way this season has been going for the Patriots, I do not see a dominating win coming from them this week. I actually think the Patriots will be coming into this game all high and mighty just like they did against the Browns two weeks ago. I see the Colts getting an early score and the Patriots chasing the whole way. I still think it will be a great game and I hope my prediction is wrong. I would love to see another dominating win from one of the best teams in the league. I am predicting the Colts winning this one 31-21.
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Written by David Reid