Culture of Hoops

Patriots-Colts Preview

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

It seems like each week I begin this preview of the upcoming New England Patriots game talking about how amazing the Patriots are. Whether it be in the form of a statistic, a streak or a headline it’s beginning to become a trend for me. So in honor of the Patriots changing their offensive ways and finally playing defense for all four quarters, I’m going to start this week’s column with good things about the Pats’ opponent the, Indianapolis Colts.

For starters, the Colts did make it all the way to the AFC Championship Game last season, they even have a banner hanging in their stadium for losing that game. They also have the first overall draft pick from 2012 in, Andrew Luck. He has a solid record as a starter at 34-17 and boasts a high touchdown number at 91.

As impressive as both of those stats are, during my attempt to find positive things to say about the Patriots opponent one number kept sticking out, 81. That is the amount of turnovers between interceptions and fumbles by Andrew Luck. Did you notice his record (34 + 17 = 51)?

In 51 career games Luck has given his opponent the ball 81 times. With that number staring me in the face I couldn’t help but think:

No wonder he has never beaten the Patriots in his career. Bill Belichick and the Pats thrive on mistakes made by their opponent. As you can see Luck and the Colts make a lot of them. So how on earth can they beat the Patriots? Short answer, they can’t. To their defense no one can right now, but if they turn the ball over as much as Luck has in his career, the game will be over before Indy knows it started.

Whoops, I guess I didn’t change anything. The Colts are just bad and the Patriots are just better.

Key Matchup
LeGarrette Blount vs Colts D

The last time Blount faced the Colts defense was in the AFC championship game last season. To the tune of 30 carries for 148 yards and three touchdowns. In other words he absolutely gouged the horseshoe’s up on the ground and they never developed an answer for L-train. So you can guarantee that Belichick will send his jumbo package out to start the game and the first few drives should feature Blount early and often.

As they saying goes; “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That will certainly apply in this situation.

In fact last season the Colts finished the year in the bottom five of the league against the run. That was the same Colts team that allowed Jonas Gray (no longer employed in the NFL) run for over 220 yards in their matchup against the Patriots last season. So once in the regular season for 220+ and again that same postseason by a different Pats back for 140+ and three scores. That run defense clearly needed help during this offseason.

Do you think less than competent Colts owner Jim Irsay did anything to fix his defense? Nope, he bought running back Frank Gore and wide receiver Andre Johnson. Essentially leaving one of the leagues worst run defense’s intact to try for a superbowl run. Good move Irsay, you must be getting football advice from your dealer.

His team has been completely unable to stop the run this season and the Patriots will ultimately exploit that weakness. Will be interesting to see if the Colts will stack the tackle box against Tom Brady because of their inability to stop the run.

Player to Watch
Jamie Collins

The Patriots season leading tackler and has forced three fumbles in as many games. Jamie Collins seems to be the new center piece of the fast and athletic New England Patriots defense and he is taking to his role excellently. He was no surprise to any consistent Patriots fan last season, his athletic ability is unmatched to maybe anyone else at his position in the league. Standing at a stout 6’4″ and weighing a solid 250 he can cover big, fast tight ends down the field as well as being strong enough to stop the run at the line of scrimmage. A real force in the middle of the field when commanding a defense.

Which is exactly what he will be doing now that Donte Hightower will miss some time with a rib injury. With Fellow linebacker Jarod Mayo unable to complete a full season in the last three, the Patriots will surly look to Collins to fill in the hole left by an absent Hightower. If I notice this, I’m sure the Colts are privy so look for them to try to attack the middle of the field early. Unfortunately, for whoever will be catching those balls, he will be wishing Hightower was still there.

Game Prediction

So far this season it has been my assumption as well as that of most, New England is out for vengeance on the entire league. I’ve even gone as far ro dub it the “Scorched Earth Tour.” The reason for such animosity towards the league of course was the whole “deflate-gate” nonsense. As far back as it may have started and as hard to remember where it started, the Pats do not forget. It started in the AFC championship game last season against the Indianapolis Colts.

While each person in the Patriots organization would of course doubt such a thing, there is no question in my mind that they have collectively circled this game on their calendars. After an entire offseason was turned into a press conference fiasco the Patriots cannot wait to lay down a beating on the Colts. They are going to get the chance this Sunday and it is going to be extremely fun to watch.

Even with the recent news breaking that 6’7″ Nate Solder, left tackle for the Patriots will miss the remainder of the season due to a torn bicep, it won’t make a difference. This season Solder has been the weakest link on the young offensive line and although Solder is a solid lineman, his loss will not cripple the early success of the line. This will become more apparent as the game against Indianapolis wears on.

For the first time this season the Patriots will run the ball early and often. Throwing big jumbo packages on the field with the gigantic Blount leading the way. The Colts will have no answer for the pure power the Patriots offense will bring to them. And just when the Colts are forced to stack seven or eight defenders in box, Brady will chuck it over the top of the defense to one of his many weapons. This will continue throughout the entire game. The run will be used successfully, setting up big play action passing plays that will go uncontested all game long.

As far as the Colts go I will leave you with one stat to prove what a complete fraud of a team they are.

Since 2013 the Indianapolis Colts are 15-0 against their division, the AFC South. A division that boasts three of the worse teams in the NFL during that time frame; Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, and the Jacksonville Jaguars. In that same time span against the rest of the NFL the Colts are 13-23. Leading me to call the team a fraud. The 81 turnovers of their “future” and their record against decent teams is enough for me to say the revenge tour will continue against a joke of a team.

This game will be the highest the Patriots try to run the score up all season.

Victim No. 5:  Indianapolis Colts

Patriots 55 Colts 17

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