The Patriots and Colts showdown this week comes as a pleasant surprise as many football fans feared the days of the Pats and Colts playoff battles were over after Peyton Manning departed for Denver two seasons ago. In steps Andrew Luck, and the rivalry may still be alive. A great game this week could renew the classic Colts and Patriots rivalry for years to come.
Andrew Luck has been working wonders with a very pedestrian team all year and Tom Brady has willed his injury-plagued team to an impressive 12-4 season. Neither team has elite offensive or defensive weapons so this game could very well come down to which all-star quarterback has a better game or which kicker has ice in his veins.
Obviously Luck and Brady are not playing directly against each other and how well both teams run the ball and get pressure on the opposing quarterback will play a big role in this game. Let’s take a look at both teams game plans and see who has the best chance to win this game
Patriots Game Plan
On offense, the Patriots will try to establish a run game and have Tom Brady dink and dunk his way down the field with what’s left of his receiving core. They will feature LeGarrette Blount in the run game and a combination of Shane Vereen, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola in the passing game. If they can in fact run the ball well, the Pats shouldn’t have any problems putting up enough points to win.
On defense, the Patriots will try to eliminate the big plays from T.Y. Hilton and shut down Coby Fleener at tight end. If they can do this, the Colts will have a real hard time keeping up with Brady and company and Luck might have a few turnovers which would likely prove detrimental to his team.
Colts Game Plan
On offense, the Colts will likely try to take advantage of all the Patriots injuries to their front seven and run more than normal. If they can have some success in the run game, Luck should be able to move the chains and make enough plays with his arm and his feet to keep the Colts in the game.
On defense, the Colts will try to stop the run and put Brady in long third down situations so they can let Robert Mathis pin his ears back and get after the Brady. Look for the Pats to chip Mathis with an extra tight end or running back on passing plays.
At the end of the day, a game plan is only as good as the coaches who put it together and the players executing the plan on the field. Given the fact that the Patriots are playing at home and have arguably one of the best coaches and quarterbacks of all time, it’s hard to argue that the Colts have any sort of edge coming into this game. The Colts barely squeaked by a Chiefs team that lost key players at almost every position during the Wild Card game and gave up 44 points to what was left of the Chiefs offense.
The Colts time will come soon enough but all signs point towards the Patriots winning this one at home and setting up another classic rivalry Manning – Brady duel in Denver against the Broncos…… assuming Denver can beat the Chargers on Sunday night.