Indianapolis Colts (4) at New England Patriots (2)
Time: Saturday January 11th @ 5:15 PM Pacific
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
Weather: 52° F w/13mph wind and rain
Radio: Westwood One (Ian Eagle, Trent Green, Tony Boselli)
TV: CBS (Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf)
Spread: Patriots -7
State Your Case: Indianapolis Colts
Matchup: Deion Branch vs Bill Belichick. The Colts made a quiet move and very interesting move this week, they signed Deion Branch off the street. Branch a guy, who clearly isn’t going to see time on the field, seemingly has been brought in to help the coaches and players get inside the mind of Belichick, which in NFL speak translates to “for depth”. This could be a huge factor in the outcome of the game as the Pats will need to rely on crafty trickery now more than ever after losing Brandon Spikes. Look for some well timed blitzes and a lot of movement on D and some tendency breaking shots on O in a rare game where Belichick gets beat on the chess board.
Situation: Andrew Luck is clutch and is 14-2 in games decided by 7 points or fewer. I don’t care how you feel about him, the dude just won a game in which they were losing by 28. At this point you have to ignore the stat guys expecting regression(trust me Im one of them), clearly this guy makes the right decision when the game is on the line. As we have seen all year this Patriots team just isn’t the same dominant offense and quite frankly I see no reason why this game wont be a 1 score game down the stretch…advantage LUCK. Between Lucks god like play on the field and the incredible belief in the team inside the locker room this Colts team will be a dangerous opponent for this incredibly inefficient version of the Patriots. Could this be the game where Brady is force to hand the torch to Mr. Luck.
Stats: Dive into the stats and you’ll find an interesting opportunity for the Colts. The Patriots are already with out Wilfork, Kelly and Mayo and as I just mentioned lost Brandon Spikes, one of their best run defenders, for the remainder of the season. This makes their weakest area, run defense(27th in Off Rush DVOA) even weaker. Now we’ve all seen what Trent Richardson in action which has allowed Donald Brown to steal the starting job. Brown has been a nice surprise(2nd in overall RB DVOA) allowing the Colts to actually be a better running team(11th in Off Rush DVOA) than they are passing team(17th in Off Pass DVOA). Look for the Colts to run the rock and work the play action and attack the replacements up the middle of the Patriots Defense. *For more on DVOA check out the Football Outsiders
Donkey Trend: Colts are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in January…Come ON MAN, Luck is 1-1 in January, don’t try to bring Luck down cause Peyton cant win in the playoffs.
Sharp Trend: The Colts are now 14-2 in games decided by a touchdown or less since luck joined the team. Love it Vegas think this will be a 7 point game so I know my man Luck will find a way to get it done.
State Your Case: New England Patriots
Matchup: Bill Belichick vs Chuck Pagano. Bill Belichick succeeds in drawing up game plans to destroy one dimensional teams. The Colts do one thing well, let Andrew Luck throw the ball. If the Chiefs were coached by Belichick T.Y. Hilton would of been double covered and there is no way they come back. The Colts and Luck are too easy to scheme around and Belichick will have a field day.
Situation: A team coming off a dramatic emotional win going to New England for a Saturday Night divisional game? This Colts scenario seems very similar to the one Denver was in when Tebow helped beat the Steelers to send them to the New England where they got throttled. Tough to ignore the experience differential, Andrew Luck is starting his 3rd playoff game Tom Brady is starting his NFL record 25th playoff game.
Stats: Tom Brady has thrown 42 touchdown passes to 20 different receivers in the post season. Terrific Tom is undeniably good in the playoffs especially against teams that lack a dominant pass rush like the Colts who are 20th in team defense averaging 357.1 yards per game.
Donkey Trend: Colts are 4-0 ATS and straight up their past 4 games. 4 in a row is nice but, Jax, Hou and KC (twice) don’t come close to playing New England on the road.
Sharp Trend: Tom Brady is 121-86 ATS as a starter and the Patriots are 8-0 at home this year. Pretty simple.
Ryan’s Pick: Patriots -7.
Ryan’s Score: Patriots 31 – Colts 21.
Ryan’s Bonus: Largest Lead in Game Over 16.5 pts +125.
Sean’s Pick: Colts +7.5.
Sean’s Score: Patriots 34 – Colts 31.
Sean’s Bonus: Tom Brady Over 270.5 passing yards.